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International Relations Theory A New Introduction. Chapter 5 The International Society Tradition. Introduction. Main origin in Europe – characterized by five key features: Holistic conception of the international anarchical society Refuses relevance of the so-called domestic analogy

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international relations theory a new introduction
International Relations TheoryA New Introduction

Chapter 5

The International Society Tradition

introduction
Introduction

Main origin in Europe – characterized by five key features:

  • Holistic conception of the international anarchical society
  • Refuses relevance of the so-called domestic analogy
  • Represents an institutional approach to the study of world politics
  • Split between more or less state-centric conceptions of international society; is a matter of degree rather than kind
  • Represents a via media perspective on international relations – an in-between theoretical tradition
genealogy
Genealogy
  • International Society Tradition is also known as the English School
  • Emerged as a coherent tradition in the 1960s; but became explicitly recognized as a school in the 1980s
  • Cultivated within British/Commonwealth academic institutions
  • Inter-disciplinary school aimed at systematizing practical knowledge
    • (Diplomatic) History, (International) Law, Sociology and Philosophy are pronounced in the work of the English School

Experienced a renaissance since the 1990s

currents of thought
Pluralism

Emphasis on the pluralist nature of international society

Thin notion of international society

H. Bull, R. Jackson

Solidarism

Emphasis on International Society as a society of mankind

Thick notion of international society

J. Vincent, N. Wheeler, T. B. Knudsen, T. Dunne, T. Weiss

Currents of Thought
kinds of theory
Kinds of Theory
  • Non-explanatory kind of research
  • Jackson (2000), English School should be seen as political theory on international affairs  essentially a normative conception
  • Use of classical approach  employment of interpretative research strategies
  • E.H. Carr's What is History – mixture of different kinds
  • English School rejects the American behavioural revolution
main variants of theory
Main Variants of Theory
  • Theory of International Society, including its fundamental institutions (Bull 1977)
  • Theory of Humanitarian Intervention (Wheeler 2000)
  • (Towards a) theory of Hegemony (Clark 2009)
main intra tradition debates
Main Intra-Tradition Debates
  • R. Jackson's claim: World politics cannot be understood without exploring the normative superstructure & his employment of principles and norms
  • Pluralist criticism on humanitarian intervention & notion of human security
  • H. Bull's definition of international society  pluralists emphasis on independence, self-determination, non-intervention
research agenda
Research Agenda
  • Addresses several crucial issues of the early 21st century, including
    • Humanitarian intervention,
    • European integration and governance
    • International organizations
    • Regional dynamics, e.g. The Middle East
  • English School has critically engaged in self-referential reflections
conclusion
Conclusion
  • Key concept/claim to fame: International Society
  • English School characterized by pronounced tension between pluralist & solidarist conceptions of international society
  • In contrast to liberalism, the English School has a strongly developed agnosticism regarding progress and utilitarianism
  • In contrast to realism, English School stresses the international society, including its common institutions and rules