Sovereignty and human rights are generally considered separate, mutually contradictory regimes in international society. This article takes issue with this conventional assumption, and argues that only by treating sovereignty and human rights as two normative elements of a single, inherently contradictory modern discourse about legitimate statehood and rightful state action can we explain key moments in the expansion of the international system during the twentieth century. After developing a constructivist argument about communicative action, norm formation and sovereignty, the article focuses on post-1945 decolonization, showing how 'first wave' post-colonial states played a crucial role in constructing the 'international bill of rights', how they invoked those rights to justify the norm of self-determination, and how this norm in turn licensed the proliferation of new sovereign states in Asia and elsewhere.
The English School is an underutilized research resource and deserves a larger role in IR than it currently has. Its distinctive elements are its methodological pluralism, its historicism, and its interlinking of three key concepts: international system, international society and world society. International society is the main focus, and the via media, between the other two, but more work needs to be done to develop the School's theoretical position, particularly in understanding the relationship between international and world society. In order to realize its potential, the English School needs both to construct a more coherent research agenda and to recover some of the working method of the British Committee. It is potentially a way of challenging the theoretical fragmentation that afflicts IR, and of setting up the foundations for a return to grand theory.
The Peace of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years' War in 1648, is generally understood as a critical moment in the development of the modern international system composed of sovereign states each with exclusive authority within its own geographic boundaries. The Westphalian sovereign state model, based on the principles of autonomy, territory, mutual recognition and control, offers a simple, arresting, and elegant image. It orders the minds of policymakers. It is an analytic assumption for neo-realism and neo-liberal institutionalism. It is an empirical regularity for various sociological and constructivist theories of international politics. It is a benchmark for observers who claim an erosion of sovereignty in the contemporary world.
Poverty reduction is now a prime concern of global policymakers. Renewed global efforts for poverty reduction are presented as the post-Washington Consensus. In this context, I identify an emerging 'global development architecture' that entails new patterns of inter-linkages between the WTO, IMF, World Bank, Regional Development Banks and Bilateral and Multilateral Development Agencies. Through the example of microcredit and poverty reduction I address the political economic implications of the emerging global development architecture. I argue that microcredit (1) facilitates financial sector liberalisation and the global trade in financial services; (2) functions as a political safety-net, containing or dampening resistance at the community level to liberalisation policies and economic austerity measures. The article critically probes the emerging global development architecture and argues that it is incorporated into the reconfiguration of global political economy as a strategy of 'crisis management'. Normative discourses underpinning the post-Washington Consensus are argued to be instrumental to efforts to legitimate the consolidation, 'constitutionally', of what continues to be the Washington Consensus.
At present, International Relations scholars use the metaphor of 'state socialization' in mutually incompatible ways, embarking from very different starting points and arriving at a bewildering variety of destinations. There is no consensus on what state socialization is, who it affects, or how it operates. This article seeks to chart this relatively unmapped concept by defining state socialization, differentiating it from similar concepts, and exploring what the study of state socialization can contribute to important and longstanding theoretical debates in the field of international relations.
Two criticisms have long been directed at the theorization of international relations (IR): ahistoricism and Eurocentrism. Westphalia, it is argued, has been so stigmatized that it has become synonymous with the beginning as well as the end of what we understand as international relations. Rationalist theorizing in general, of both the neorealist and neoliberal persuasions, has produced a set of deductive theories that aim and claim to transcend history.
This article argues that the fields of international law and organization are experiencing a legitimacy crisis relating to fundamental reconfigurations of global power and authority. Traditional Westphalian-inspired assumptions about power and authority are incapable of providing contemporary understanding, producing a growing disjunction between the theory and the practice of the global system. The actors, structures, and processes identified and theorized as determinative by the dominant approaches to the study of international law and organization have ceased to be of singular importance. Westphalian-inspired notions of state-centricity, positivist international law, and 'public' definitions of authority are incapable of capturing the significance of non-state actors, informal normative structures, and private, economic power in the global political economy.
The United States is today a global superpower without historical precedent. It stands at the centre of an expanding democratic-capitalist world order that is itself, fifty years after its creation, the dominant reality in world politics. Despite expectations that American hegemony would disappear and trigger the emergence of a new and unstable multipolar post-Cold War order, the opposite has in fact happened. American power has grown even greater in the decade since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Although American power is not uniformly welcome around the world, serious ideological challengers or geopolitical balancers are not to be found. Scholars who a decade ago were debating the prospect of co-operation and conflict in a post-hegemonic world are now debating the character and future of world politics within an American unipolar order.
A sea change of major proportions is taking place in the historical social system forming the modern world, creating a widespread sense of uncertainty about the present and foreseeable future. In the words of Eric Hobsbawm, as ‘the citizens of the fin de siècle tapped their way through the global fog that surrounded them, into the third millennium, all they knew for certain was that an era of history had ended. They knew very little else’.
The article argues that Doyle's interpretation of Kant's first definitive article in Perpetual Peace is mistaken. I distinguish between Kant's pragmatic argument this democratic peace proposition) and his a priori, or transcendental claim. Both are distinct from Doyle's approach which emphasizes institutional restraint and shared cultural norms. Doyle must be criticized for taking Kant's transcendental claims as statements that can be verified empirically. I propose that we drop Doyle's juxtaposition of liberal and illiberal as a fallacy of essentialism. Kant's distinction between republican and despotic is a methodological abstraction belonging to ideal theory (the system of rights). Kantian non-ideal theory this political philosophy) sees the distinction among states as a matter of degree rather than kind. Kant favours an inclusive global federation encompassing liberal as well as non-liberal states, rather than an exclusive federation and 'separate peace' of liberal states.
The voluminous literature on recent transitions to democracy has generally lacked an analysis from the perspective of international law. This article explores four aspects of efforts to promote a normative 'democratic entitlement'. First, it reviews the ways in which notions of democratic legitimacy have infiltrated virtually every aspect of international legal discourse. Second, it explores how a normative legitimacy standard may alter foundational doctrines of international law, such as non-intervention and the recognition of states and governments. Third, it reviews arguments against the emergence of 'democratic entitlement'. These arguments both take issue with the sources of law relied upon by the entitlement's proponents, and ask whether the substantive and procedural aspects of democracy implicit in the democratic entitlement thesis are conceptually coherent. Finally, the article explores the ways in which a legal analysis of democratization confronts questions not addressed by the methodologies of other disciplines.
Fifth century Greeks distinguished between hegemonia (legitimated leadership) and arkhe (control). Thucydides employed this distinction to track the changing nature of the Athenian Empire during the Peloponnesian War, and the ways in which a diminishing concern for balancing self-interest against justice corroded Athenian authority, made survival of the empire increasingly problematic and encouraged the disastrous expedition to Sicily. The Melian Dialogueoften cited by realists to justify a power-based approach to foreign policyis intended to symbolize this decay. Building on our analysis of Thucydides, we examine the British, Soviet and American experiences with hegemony. A striking feature of the contemporary American situation is the extent to which American leaders claim hegemonia but deny any interest in arkhe. Rightly or wrongly, much of the rest of the world has the reverse perception. This seeming contradiction has important implications for US foreign policy and world politics more generally.
In the discipline of International Relations (IR), it seems to be an uncontroversial point that the passage of European civilization from the middle ages to the early modern period was also the transition from a system with a single supreme secular regent, the emperor, to one with plural supreme regents. This is implied in the ubiquitous view that the Thirty Years' War was a struggle between the ‘medieval’ conception of imperial suzerainty and hegemony over christendom and the ‘modern’ conception of a system composed of independent ‘sovereign’ states, with the 1648 peace that ended the war enshrining the victory of the latter.
C. A. W. Manning, Professor of International Relations at the LSE (1930-1962), was a key contributor to the formation of the discipline in Britain. He wrote on Jurisprudence, which was his main strength; on the League of Nations, of which he was a keen supporter; on South Africa, concerning which he gained notoriety as the defender of Apartheid; on International Relations as an independent academic discipline, which, to him, was due to the sui generis character of international society as a formally anarchical but substantively orderly social environment. He was a Rationalist in Martin Wight's sense, and early constructivist, who saw that the society of states as a social construct was subject to interpretation, reinterpretation, and reshaping.
This collection of essays grapples, historically, with the complex issues involved in understanding system transformation. Often these transformations have taken the form of a shift along the spectrum of independence-centralization, and it is within the framework of such declining or emerging imperial systems that the degree of change has tended to be measured. The task of this contribution is to locate the specific case of the end of the Cold War within the broader reflections on these themes. It will respond to this challenge by applying a different litmus test for change from that already found in the existing literature about the significance of the end of the Cold War. Instead, it will broach the topic by an examination of prevailing concepts of legitimacy within international society. In short, it argues that a study of the role of legitimacy might be a useful way of documenting and measuring the kinds of changes taking place within an international system. Moreover, while the end of the Cold War might be thought to have nothing to say about the issue of empire as such (beyond recording the expiry of the Soviet version), it will additionally be suggested that the resultant extension of shared concepts of international legitimacy can be understood as a defining attribute of the contemporary imperial project.
Russia is by some measures the most successful imperial enterprise in history. Surpassed in size only by the British and Mongol empires, Russia and its Soviet successor proved far more durable than either one. It retained its peak territorial extent longer than any other empire, and for most of the last 400 years it has been the largest polity on earth. Moreover, both St. Petersburg and Moscow were hugely successful as great powers, playing major roles in European and world politics for the three centuries after 1700. And their influence as great powers peaked in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries—an era in which states based on nations appeared to have the competitive edge over old-fashioned polyglot empires.
Africa's relation to the concept and practice of ‘state’ and ‘states system’ has been problematic since its first encounters with those who were armed with the concept. In observing the collapse of authority and governance in a number of African states, some scholars have suggested that Africa presented the states system with alternative political organizations. Others argue that so long as there is a kernel of armed authority in territorially demarcated areas, a state exists. Africa's polities have often responded unconventionally, yet strategically, to interaction with the sovereign state system first elaborated by the Europeans. To comprehend the novelty, or lack of it, in the ‘state system’ of contemporary Africa, we need to know something about its pre-colonial political structures and organizations and about the imprint of empires (the construct which effectively limited the ‘international’ system of sovereign states to the West) on Africa. Did colonialism and the Western system of sovereign states rule out alternative structures for the newly independent African states? What might alternative structures have looked like? What impact did colonial rule have on the development of states in Africa? Does contemporary Africa have a ‘state system’? This article addresses these questions in the context of the Special Issue's concern with both the structure of the international system and developments among and between the units.
In this article I intend to give more attention to Pufendorf's ideas than has been the custom among international relations theorists. The main focus will be upon Pufendorf's distillation and conceptualization of the implications of Westphalia in terms of sovereignty and the integrity of states. Furthermore, his extension of the Aristotelian classification of types of state, and his attempts to go beyond Bodin's and Hobbes's theories of sovereignty, provide the vocabulary and concepts in terms of which the different international actors of the late seventeenth century could be understood. In this respect the focus is altogether different from Linklater. My emphasis upon the historical and emblematic character of the Peace of Westphalia, the personification of the state and its animation by sovereignty, which serves to facilitate Pufendorf's exploration of the idea of a system of states, and my suggestion that his ideas are not wholly redundant and may be used to explore some facets of a modern states system, serve considerably to extend Forsyth's brief analysis.