In recent years, the English School or international society approach to International Relations has risen to prominence because its theories and concepts seem able to help us explain some of the most complex and seemingly paradoxical features of contemporary world politics. In doing so, the approach has attracted a variety of criticisms from both ends of the political spectrum. Some argue that the claim that states form an international society is premature in anera of terror where power politics and the use of force have returned to the fore. Others insist that international society's state-centrism make it an inherently conservative approach unable to address many of the world's most pressing problems. International Society and its Critics provides the first in-depth study of the English School approach to International Relations from a variety of different theoretical and practical perspectives. Sixteen leading scholars from three continents critically evaluate the School's contribution to the study of international theory and history; consider its relationship with a variety of alternative perspectives including international political economy, feminism, environmentalism, andcritical security studies; and assess how the approach can help us to make sense of the big issues of the day such as terrorism, the management of cultural difference, global governance, the ethics of coercion, and the role of international law. They find that whilst the concept of international society helps toshed light on many of the important tensions in world politics, much work still needs to be done. In particular, the approach needs to broaden its empirical scope to incorporate more of the issues and actors that shape global politics; draw upon other theoretical traditions to improve its explanations of change in world politics; and recognize the complex and multi-layered nature of the contemporary world.
- Publication Date:
- 09 / 12 / 2004