Constructing the World Polity: Essays on International Institutionalization

Constructing the World Polity: Essays on International Institutionalization

Constructing the World Polity: Essays on International Institutionalization

Constructing the World Polity: Essays on International Institutionalization

Synopsis

Constructing the World Polity brings together in one collection the theoretical ideas of one of the most influential International Relations theorists of our time. These essays, with a new introduction, and comprehensive connective sections, present Ruggie's ideas and their application to critical policy questions of the post-Cold War international order. Themes covered include: * International Organization. How the 'new Institutionalism' differs from the old. * The System of States. Explorations of political structure, social time, and territorial space in the world polity. * Making History. America and the issue of 'agency' in the post-Cold Was era. NATO and the future transatlantic security community. The United Nations and the collective use of force.

Excerpt

In some ways this book parallels an earlier one in the series: the Neumann and Wæver volume The Future of International Relations: Masters in the Making? Like that book it takes individual authors and their opuses as a way of understanding the subject, rather than approaching it in terms of paradigms or schools of thought. the difference is that here only one author is under consideration, and he surveys, reviews and sums up his own work rather than having someone else do it. Ruggie is a subject of both books, and so we have an outside perspective with which to compare and contrast the inside one given in this volume. As Ole Wæver has already noted, Ruggie is not an easy figure to label. Some see him as a rather sophisticated neorealist, some as a key figure in the liberal tradition, some even as a poststructuralist. His ideas have been most influential in liberal writing without Ruggie himself being clearly committed to that tradition. Wæver hesitates between labelling him a “postmodern liberalist” or an exponent of “post-sovereign realism,” noting that his work has “proved prophetic a remarkable number of times.”

That prophetic streak explains what a collection of past essays is doing in a collection titled “The New International Relations.” John Ruggie has been an influential essayist in International Relations for twenty-five years: several of his articles have been milestones in the development of the discipline. But it has not been easy to see how his opus formed a coherent whole, and until recently he has denied us a book that attempted the task of integration. in this volume he remedies that defect by unfolding the story of his journey towards constructivism, and using that to tie his essays together. What follows is part autobiography, part intellectual history, and part reflection on the development of theory in thinking about international relations. It is also a powerful assault on what Ruggie labels the “neo-utilitarian” orthodoxies that have dominated ir theory over the last decades. Since constructivism is now making major strides against these rationalist and materialist theories, Ruggie’s story is not only about what the new International Relations is, but also about how and why it came into being.

Barry Buzan

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