New Thinking in International Relations Theory

New Thinking in International Relations Theory

New Thinking in International Relations Theory

New Thinking in International Relations Theory

Synopsis

This book of 10 original essays provides a showcase of diverse current theories in the field of international relations. Contributors address the theoretical analysis that their perspectives bring to the issue of change in global politics.

Excerpt

Trotsky once remarked of his own era, "it is a curse to live in interesting times." For those who study international politics, we surely live in such times. The Soviet Union has collapsed, the Cold War has ended, some states in what was once called the Second (Soviet bloc) and Third Worlds (developing countries) are "failing," democratization is changing the face of world politics, the United Nations has emerged as a significant actor--and so have a host of nongovernmental organizations--while publics in the industrial democracies appear to be tempted by a turn inward toward isolationism.

Although dramatic global change is perhaps a curse to some old theories and conventional wisdoms, it is also an opportunity. This volume brings together provocative essays by scholars who, taken together, represent a wide range of working theoretical traditions in international relations scholarship. Moreover, our contributors reflect on how their theoretical orientations come to grips with contemporary global change. Their views range over changes in the structure of the international system, the identity and interests of the major actors, the effects of recent developments in military, industrial, and communications technology, strategies of foreign policy, and perceptions of the fundamental visions, goals, and parameters of world politics.

The essays comprise a showcase of the currently diverse theoretical agendas in the field. But the essays are also united in their attention to theoretical analysis that bears on the issue of change in global politics. Together they reflect important strands of "new thinking" in international relations theory. We, the editors, chose contributors who are interested in work currently under way outside of the mainstream of international theory, such as feminist and postmodernist theory, as well as authors who are developing theoretical advances within traditional realms, such as various international or domestic structural theories. We have selected authors and categories according to how they conceptualize the task of international political analysis, from formal modeling to discursive soliloquy, and how they categorize the important sources of change, whether they derive from the systemic interaction of states or the output of domestic politics, from ideas or material forces. We begin with the end of the Cold War, how publics interpret change, and how the classic tradition of international theory--real-

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