International Society and Its Critics

International Society and Its Critics

International Society and Its Critics

International Society and Its Critics

Synopsis

In this major new work, leading scholars come together to evaluate the influential International Society approach to contemporary world politics. Writing from a variety of perspectives, the contributors to this book demonstrate that a proper understanding of world politics needs to incorporate many types of actor and be able to explain the different types of issue in world politics. This International Society approach offers one of the most illuminating ways of understanding the major issues of our day, such as terrorism, global governance, and the role of international law.

Excerpt

This volume was first conceived almost immediately after I arrived to take up a position at the University of Queensland in January 2002. The project began with exchanges of emails about the continuing relevance and apparently insurmountable rise of the English School or international society approach to world politics. A number of people were quite bemused by the rise of English School thinking in international relations, inspite of the many objections that writers from all sides of the discipline had levelled against it. The problem, it seemed, was that there had been very little dialogue between proponents of the English School account and those of other approaches to the subject. Although there had been a number of exchanges between key English School thinkers and writers of a realist persuasion, there had been virtually no engagement with critical and postmodern theories, feminism, international political economy, environmentalism, and other approaches to international relations. The primary aim of this project was to address this issue in three steps: first, by re-evaluating the contribution of English School thinking to the study of world politics; second, by initiating dialogue between the English School and a variety of alternative approaches to the subject; and third, by interrogating what these conversations might contribute to our understanding of world politics in the post-September 11 era.

An undertaking such as this depends upon its contributors and I was very lucky to receive fifteen excellent chapters by outstanding authors. It was an immense and humbling pleasure to work with the contributors to this volume and my first set of thanks go to them, for contributing so much of their time and expertise to this project. As well as writing chapters, many contributors also read and reviewed other chapters, for which I am very grateful.

From its inception this volume received the support and guidance of Dominic Byatt at Oxford University Press. Dominic enthusiastically supported the idea from the very beginning and patiently worked through about ten drafts of the original proposal, offering sage advice and direction throughout. Once it got up and running, Dominic continued to provide advice and help. I would also like to thank Claire Croft at Oxford University Press for her patience and skill in navigating this project to completion.

As well as the chapter contributors, several other colleagues provided much help and assistance. To start with, I would like to single out Steve Smith who in his own way was instrumental in getting the project off the ground in the first place. My contributions to this volume were helped by Marianne Hanson, Paul Williams, and especially Sara Davies who provided me with excellent and insightful comments on earlier drafts of the introduction and conclusion. I am also grateful to Nick Wheeler, Richard Shapcott, and Matt McDonald for offering comments on some of the chapters and advice about the overall direction of the book. Finally, I would like to thank Joseph Grieco and

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