Letter from the Editors

Article excerpt

Twenty years ago, the Berlin Wall collapsed, and alongside it came down the prevailing global order in a moment of palpable historical grandeur. Reflecting on this anniversary, our staff selected the Symposium before you to capture our opportunity to bear witness to both collapse and renewal; to apply lessons from our experience during the closing decade of one century and the opening decade of another. To this end, our editorial staff departed from our usual Symposium model. Rather than featuring a cluster of articles around a substantive theme, we solicited young, promising, and ambitious academics for their original ideas, hoping to capture the trends that will shape both international policymaking and academic thinking in the coming decade.

We are delighted to present our unique Features Symposium, Big Ideas for the Next Decade, the final product of our gamble that brings together some of today's brightest emerging thinkers. Opening the Symposium is an article by our very own editorial staff, which for the first time formulates its views in a featured article. In "Daring to Deconstruct," we highlight the contributions of postmodernism in international relations. David Grewal then predicts that the "return of the state" will define the next generation's approach to global challenges. His emphasis on the state offers a fresh voice in current political science discourse, which has been dominated by visions of a globalized world. Grewal hands the baton to Jason Brownlee, who challenges the received wisdom of a clear authoritarian-democratic dichotomy, presenting in its place a transnational paradigm in which "democratic and authoritarian currents ... coalesce within national boundaries and flow across them." Next, social entrepreneur Hilary Cottam urges readers to move past the predominance of formal institutions in the global order and instead concentrate on the rise of participatory systems. Drawing on lived experience and close observations, Cottam asserts that the strength of these systems stems from the fact that they are simultaneously top-down and bottom-up. Finally, Christina Davis bridges the gap between domestic politics and international relations and examines how domestic governments turn to supranational institutions such as the WTO to guarantee financial security. …

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