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  1. English school of international relations theory - Wikipedia
  2. From International Relations to Global Society
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Two developments deserve mention. The first is growing attention to domestic politics, and in particular to domestic regime type, as a significant factor for explaining global outcomes. Two-level game models demonstrated the importance of analyzing the interaction between domestic and international politics p. Having established the empirical regularity that democracies do not wage war with other democracies, scholars began to focus on the characteristics of democracies that might generate this unexpected outcome.

Neoliberal institutionalists also increasingly turned their attention to domestic politics, both for models of how to study the global and for interactive models that helped incorporate domestic politics in efforts to understand global outcomes Milner Constructivists, too, contributed to the growing interest in the relationship between domestic and international structures Risse-Kappen Another important development is the growing awareness of the wider range of actors that are shaping global relations.

Two kinds of actors are receiving increased attention precisely because of their causal importance and their perceived centrality to global governance—IOs and transnational actors. Although the study of IOs is almost as old as the discipline of international relations, it has fallen in and out of theoretical favor over the decades this section draws heavily from Barnett and Finnemore The post-First World War emergence of the discipline of international relations included considerable attention to IOs; after the Second World War there was continuing interest in IOs because of the experiments in regional integration in Europe and postwar IO-building.

Although international relations scholars lost interest in IOs during the s and s, a very powerful line of argument emerged concerning the conditions under which states will establish international institutions and the functions that they assign to them Keohane Briefly, states create and delegate critical tasks to international institutions because they can provide essential functions such as providing public goods, collecting information, establishing credible commitments, monitoring agreements, and generally helping states overcome problems associated with collective action and enhancing collective welfare.

While this institutionalist perspective generates important insights into issues of international governance, its statism and functionalism obscure important features. First, the functionalist treatment of international institutions and IOs reduced them to technical accomplishments, slighting their political character and the political work they do. It also presumes that the only interesting or important functions that IOs might perform are those that facilitate cooperation and resolve problems of interdependent choice.

Secondly, the statism of many contemporary treatments of IOs reduced them to mere tools of states, akin to how pluralists treated the state. IOs are mechanisms or arenas through which others usually states act. The regimes literature is particularly clear on this point. Regimes are not purposive actors. IOs are thus passive structures; states are the agents who exercise power in this view.

The impact of IOs is not limited to the functions assigned to them by states and the regulation of already existing state interests. IOs also construct the social world in which cooperation and choice take place.

English school of international relations theory - Wikipedia

They help to define the issues that need to be governed and propose the means by which governance should occur Barnett and Finnemore They help define the interests that states and other actors have, not only as a forum where persuasion takes place, but also as an actor that is engaged in processes of socialization Checkel In fact, the growing recognition that IOs might have authority and power has encouraged scholars to worry that runaway IOs might become modern-day Frankensteins, where the inventors are no longer able to control their creation.

Consequently, there is now a growing interest in what happens when decisional authority is scaled up to IOs that have more autonomy and more power than ever before; the issue is not only effectiveness but also legitimacy and accountability Barnett and Finnemore ; Grant and Keohane There has also been a burgeoning study of transnational relations.

Similar to the study of IOs, the study of transnationalism had an earlier moment in the sun, faded in the shadow of state-centrism, and has now returned with a burst of energy. Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye introduced the study of transnational politics in the early s, but that particular research agenda did not prosper in the short term, with the exception of some increased attention to transnational corporations in world politics. Ernst Haas and John Ruggie explored the role of various kinds of knowledge communities and transnational networks for understanding forms of international change and cooperation Ruggie et al.

These literatures proved to be ahead of their time. By the early s, though, international relations scholars began to rediscover transnationalism and transnational actors. One of the first important formulations was the work on epistemic communities, which focused on how transnationally connected experts with shared technical knowledge could influence state policy in situations of high complexity and uncertainty Adler and Haas ; Haas A new literature on transnational advocacy networks, global civil society, and transnational social movements identified these actors as participants in global politics and documented their ability to create norms and contribute to regime formation and implementation Sikkink ; Keck and Sikkink ; Price ; ; Thomas ; Tarrow In contrast to epistemic communities that were formed around scientific knowledge and expertise, these groups formed primarily around shared principled ideas.

Another strand examines so-called dark networks including terrorist groups and criminal networks around drugs and trafficking Kahler Regardless of whether one considers transnationalism, on balance, a good or a problematic development, there is general agreement that transnational actors can influence the course of global affairs. A distinguishing characteristic of many of these transnational actors is that they are organized in network forms.

Organizational theorist Walter Powell calls them a third mode of organization, distinctly different from markets and hierarchy. The dominant forms of communication in global politics email and the World Wide Web have networked forms that are increasingly beyond the complete control of states. Terrorist organizations are viewed as being organized around networks, making them more difficult for states to monitor, locate, and incarcerate. Global corporations are discovering and adopting network forms of organization. Networks have various positive and negative attributes.

They have flexibility, speed, informality, a greater chance for increasing multiple views, and perhaps even enhanced implementation capacities Slaughter ; Weber Nevertheless, increasingly hybrid network forms of governance are emerging that may combine state and nonstate actors to carry out key governance tasks. Finally, there is perhaps no more persuasive evidence of the rise of global society than the ability of nonstate actors and even individuals to participate directly in global politics without being mediated by the state.

This ability finds formal recognition in human rights regimes, where increasingly individuals can bring claims against their own state to international human rights institutions, and where individuals can now be held accountable for acts crimes against humanity or genocide that previously were attributed to states. The rise of individual criminal accountability in the global system, as evidenced in the increase in human rights trials, can thus be seen as a p.

What and whom we study necessarily leads to a consideration of how we study. There is now greater epistemological eclecticism and methodological diversity than ever before. While there are various reasons for growing epistemological diversity, arguably most important was the recognition of the underlying social character of international relations. They argued that, while the very definition of regimes involves inherently intersubjective norms and principles, the prevailing positivist epistemology of international relations made it impossible to explain, assess, or capture the social aspect of life.

A genuinely social science cannot model itself only after the natural sciences; international relations scholars of a global society must embrace epistemologies that are appropriate to the task. There is no single path. Some have gravitated toward interpretative social science, frequently drawing from Max Weber and other classical sociological theorists, to understand how actors give significance and meaning to their actions and the intersubjective understandings that frequently constitute social action.

Others have gravitated toward forms of scientific realism and theories of discourse, hoping to identify broad patterns of action and inaction. In this important sense, post-positivist scholars operate with a much broader understanding of causality than do positivist scholars; underlying, unobservable structures that make some action possible, difficult, or unimaginable do important explanatory work. Alongside an increasing diversity of epistemological positions is an increasing array of methodologies.

The use of alternative methodologies to address the same questions has deepened our theoretical understanding and enhanced our empirical analysis. Consider two prominent areas in the study of global governance. The first is compliance. Behavioral approaches to the study of norms typically attempt to measure behavioral conformity with norms that are written in formal treaties and agreements p. Instances of compliance or noncompliance, in other words, are defined by the scholar as deviations from some measure developed by the analyst of what constitute behavior consistent with expectations codified in the agreement.

Interpretative approaches go beyond behavior. They aspire to recover how actors interpret what counts as compliance and defection; whether there is an intersubjective understanding of what compliance demands in particular social situations; the kinds of justifications that are used for acts of noncompliance; and the motivations and reasons that actors give for compliance and noncompliance Kratochwil and Ruggie ; Koh ; Kingsbury Another area is the study of legitimacy.

Certainly any international order that has a modicum of legitimacy will be reflected in behavior that is consistent with the international norms that define that order. Consequently, there should be behavioral effects, effects that can be observed and captured through comparative statics. In this regard, claims about the increasing or decreasing legitimacy of an IO, treaty, or agreement should be evident not only in rates of compliance but also with changes in the willingness of states to rally to its defense, to punish those who violate its norms, and to provide various kinds of resources Clark ; Clark and Reus-Smit Yet we should also want to understand why legitimacy is conferred, what are the contests over what constitutes a legitimate international order, and what sorts of practices are considered to be appropriate as a consequence.

Not only are particular substantive areas benefiting from the application of diverse methodological approaches, but individual scholars are demonstrating greater agility as they are using multimethod approaches. Increasingly, some scholars who use quantitative methods are asked to supplement their large-n studies with well-selected cases, while qualitative scholars are also turning to some quantitative approaches or formal models. The reason for this development is the desire to balance the strengths and weaknesses of each approach: Large-n studies are very good at helping to determine broad patterns across space and time, but well-designed case studies can be essential for identifying and exploring the causal mechanisms that account for the relationship between independent and dependent variables.

The what, who, and how raise fundamental issues regarding the why we study global politics. Or, more precisely, why should we study world politics? A vibrant discipline of international relations depends on the presence of a community of scholars who are collectively engaged in providing creative explanations and innovative insights into concerns of global importance that have potential relevance beyond that scholarly community. Theory development and methodological innovation is central to this task, but sometimes international relations theorists have become enamored with theory and method for their own sake, turning means into ends.

This can lead to sterile paradigm wars and disengagement from the problems and practices of global relations. Reus-Smit and D. Snidal Oxford: Oxford University Press p. Most of us got into this business to explore and explain particular puzzles. We are motivated by the need to understand and explain developments and changes in global politics and to keep up with the world that often surprises and shocks us.

In particular, we are motivated by the need to understand and explain change in global society. He argued that realism was unable to explain key changes in the international system because it was missing both a dimension of change and a determinant of change. Other authors have claimed that realism has likewise been unable to explain the most important changes in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, in particular, the consolidation of the European Union, the end of the cold war, the emergence of the war of terror, and the explosion of IOs, international law, and networks.

New theories have made some important contributions to understanding specific changes in global society, but have not yet provided a comprehensive theory of change. An increasingly common position is to reject the possibility of a grand theoretical synthesis. Oxford: Oxford University Press that a much more promising avenue is to develop eclectic theorizing that can be used to explain worldly problems with an eye toward how such eclecticism might or might not contribute to broader theoretical arguments.

Secondly, many of us decided on a career in international relations not only because we wanted to observe and explain from a cool distance but also because we hoped our knowledge might improve the conduct and character of global politics. There is a long story about how, why, and when the social sciences largely abandoned the idea of practical engagement, a story that revolves around the quest for objectivity and the belief that practical engagement would pollute a pure science, the obsession with theory-building and methods, the desire to train graduate students for life in the academy and to forgo the idea of educating young professionals who might have a career in the public and nonprofit sectors Anderson The consequence is that scholars are no longer actively engaged in practical politics.

To be sure, there are moments when scholars attempt to comment on the controversies of the day in various forums, but the overall incentive structure is to orient scholars toward the community of scholars rather than toward policy-relevant research. International relations scholars need to think through how to connect their theories and knowledge to practical action, and one possibility concerns a more substantial interest in marrying international ethics to empirical analysis. Because of its roots in critical theory and critical social science, critical international relations theory has always been attentive to the relationship between theory and praxis, p.

We are very sympathetic to the importance of attempting to uncover the structures that produce forms of oppression and hinder the ability of individuals to control their fates. However, this formulation has encouraged many who associate themselves with critical international relations theory to dismiss out-of-hand political interventions that are deemed insufficiently radical.

But what, precisely, is ethically problematic with an engagement that aspires to make small but consequential changes in the lives of others? Is a practical politics that both makes small improvements and works toward more thoroughgoing change impossible? Where is the evidence that radical change has led to radical emancipation? The empirical engagement with ethics underscores that moral judgment requires evaluation not just of principles but also of consequences. Resolving empirical questions about consequences is important for making normative judgments about desirable policies.

It is not only a question of determining which policies are good and bad, but rather specifying the conditions under which different policies can lead to better or worse outcomes. Because the theorizing about consequences is an inherently comparative and empirical enterprise, empirically oriented scholars can make an important contribution Nye ; Sikkink Thus ethical judgment requires the best empirical research we can do, using all the research tools at our disposal.

The research will often involve difficult counterfactuals, complex research designs, and demanding evidence. Well-intentioned researchers will disagree about results. But we can improve our discussions by being more explicit about our processes of ethical reasoning and by relating our research findings more explicitly to their normative implications. A paradigm-driven or methods-mad discipline is an intellectual and professional dead end because it allows scholars to feel satisfied with the resulting intellectual fragmentation and detachment from the world.

There are many possible paths for reattaching these severed ties, and several of the chapters in this volume suggest different possibilities for greater dialogue among scholars and engagement with practical politics. Not every scholar needs to be equally engaged in dialogue or practical politics, and there are reasons to foster an intellectual division of labor. But such a division needs to be situated in the context of a general agreement that p.

All disciplines, if they are to have any coherence whatsoever, must have an overarching narrative. The anarchy thematic has helped to generate coherence for the discipline of international relations. It provided a common narrative that focused on states as actors that were struggling to maintain their security and generate wealth in an inhospitable environment.

It helped to define the boundaries of the field and distinguish the study of international relations from the study of comparative politics. It focused scholarly attention on a manageable set of issues that could be subjected to theoretical emendation and empirical analysis.

It provided a coherent account of the discipline that could be passed down from one generation to the next. The anarchy thematic served various useful functions. Yet this singular narrative also bred theoretical, intellectual, and empirical myopia. Theories that escaped the territorial trap were marginalized or ostracized on various grounds, including the view that they were not contributing to the core debates in the field. Students were advised against certain dissertation topics for example, human rights, gender because it would marginalize them in the field.

The pluralization of the discipline did not occur because the mainstream digested the ethos of deliberative democracy, but rather because of theoretical shortcomings, empirical anomalies, and new items on the global agenda that demanded new approaches. Consequently, many scholars who once believed that they were on the outside of the discipline looking in rejoiced at the decline of the anarchy thematic and the demise of the territorial trap. This growing diversity, however welcome, also risks generating disciplinary fragmentation, because there no longer exists a single, overarching story.

We hesitate to propose an alternative narrative precisely because there is no magical formulation that can avoid prematurely foreclosing diverse perspectives and voices. However, the concept of governance has been emerging as a worthy alternative to anarchy because of its ability to interrogate enduring, heretofore neglected, and emerging issues in the theory and practice of international relations.

Governance is about how actors p.

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Accordingly, the study of global governance is ultimately concerned with how rules are created, produced, sustained, and refined, how these rules help define the purpose of collective action, and how these rules control the activities of international, transnational, and increasingly domestic action. A narrative of global governance, then, would have to consider both centralized and decentralized forms of governance.

International relations scholars have tended to focus on centralized rules, particularly those that exist in inter-state agreements, treaties, and conventions. But we must become more aware of the different kinds of organizational forms and architectures through which global governance occurs. In particular, we must be attentive to the possibility of governance through decentralized rule, including governance through networks that link the public and private realms Chimni ; Ruggie Global governance has evolved from a state-dominated affair to include a panoply of actors even as states retain considerable privileges and prerogatives.

In general, states do not exhaust the mechanisms of reproduction or transformation, and by stalking states we overlook other suspects that are the source and governor of international change. Any consideration of global governance must necessarily be concerned not only with collective action and international cooperation but also with questions of power.

These different conceptualizations provide different answers to the fundamental question—when and in what respects are actors able to control their own fate? With regard to exporting states, the existence of valuable natural resources heightens competition for control of the state and postpones the development of other sectors of economic life, given that, in most cases, these states have very weak political institutions, something that increases the likelihood of political authoritarianism and civil strife. It is important to underline that these conflicts begin as national security risks, but can quickly turn into international or global problems.

Le Billon argues that resource allocations, operating practices, social rights and the discursive representations contribute to shape vulnerabilities and opportunities for the emergence of armed conflicts, which means that, in many cases, security problems are originated within a state, but have a large potential to surpass national borders and affect regional and international security. The idea of future conflicts over scarce resources and anthropogenic environmental change need to be considered in terms of particular geographies of vulnerability, threat and insecurity, as well as the new dynamics associated with globalization.

So, traditional geopolitics perspectives over natural resources conflicts seem to be increasingly obsolete, inasmuch as they focus on resource supply for rich countries, pointing towards military invasions and national autarky, regarding natural resources as strategic imperatives based on state-centric perspectives which stress conflict risks fueled by ideas of shrinking resources and difficulties in supply.

Given that one needs to study potential conflicts over resources in light of geographies of vulnerability, threat and insecurity, one also should be careful when analyzing geopolitical narratives about the threat of interstate resource wars due to the growing economies of Asia, for example, since they can promote them instead of avoiding them, simply because this is a simplistic view on the issue, which neglects the multidimensional nature of environmental issues and the need for global cooperation.

As Frerks et al. One cannot assert the decay of geopolitics, one must admit that geopolitics is still relevant and important, but geopolitics cannot be the only perspective on environmental issues and natural resources in particular, since globalization itself has made the environment a global problem. Globalization and its global issues challenge the orthodox vision that emphasizes traditional geopolitics and the struggle for power among states, pointing to the importance of a new perspective, one which focus its attention on a geocentric perspective in the politics of global social relations or in a new geopolitics, given the increasing importance of soft power in international relations.

Howsoever, this is another aspect that proves globalization is a "double-edged sword.

From International Relations to Global Society

In the core of geopolitical thinking lies the realistic notion of the importance of achieving world order by means of a balance of power that seeks to prevent regional and global hegemony of rising powers, and some supporters of globalization suggest that world order can be achieved through greater economic and cultural interaction. So, according to this view, the Arab Spring events can be viewed both from the perspective of globalization and from the perspective of geopolitics.

Globalization was important in disseminating ideas through social networks, especially and in spreading weapons through state borders, which challenged dictators across the Arab world. Also, external powers were asked to intervene either directly or indirectly, in order to establish a balance of power in a critical region of the world, one that can serve their interests Heywood One must keep in mind that outsiders have to deal with the problems associated with national conflicts over resources-problems such as illegal migration, terrorism, human or drug trafficking-becoming entangled in weak states trying to control these events, but that great power involvement may be aggressive and selfish, instead of defensive or altruistic Hendrix and Noland The more assertive example of this is the US invasion of Iraq.

Thus, there are many narratives about competition over resources between the US and China Klare : they mention the effects of this competition for US-China relations, as well as possible tensions between China and countries such as Japan, India and Southeast Asian countries. As Reed emphasizes, "Chinese and US economies are intimately connected, while the two countries also compete for geostrategic influence at regional and global levels. Chinese influence in Africa is already a reality, because the country has surpassed the United States as the single largest provider of aid to the continent, and Chinese outward foreign direct investment is deeply targeted at the extractive sector.

This resource boom can occasion a geopolitical confrontation between the United States and China Hendrix and Noland The question is: can China rise peacefully? So, China's rise is one of the reasons why the environment and natural resources are becoming more and more important in international relations. The other reasons encompass, for example, India, which is about to be the world's most populous country, having an emerging economy and being a political force stabilizing the South and Southeast regions of the Asian continent; Brazil, a major provider of commodities on world markets and an extremely important player in terms of global food security; or the Russian Artic, destined to be the heart of an enormous struggle of extractive industries and commercial and shipping centers.

Besides, these are regions of high priority to the US; all of them are vulnerable to natural resource shocks and to the effects of climate change. According to Reed , illegal trade in natural resources runs in the hundreds of billions of dollars annually. This illegal resource trade distorts international trade, weakens rules governing international commerce, and causes economic loss to producers and consumers in the United States.

Garrett and Piccini , 5 also mention this fact, focusing on war economies, "a fertile business environment for international criminal networks and arms traffickers, who seek to exchange arms and other inputs in return for access to natural resource revenues or commercialization opportunities provided by high-value commodities.

Another risk encompasses the fact that natural resource exporting states are empowered by higher prices, which makes them less amenable to international norms, namely those associated with global environmental governance and human rights, two global issues.

In fact, these states tend to be economically highly integrated and they are associated with a low degree of political integration, in other words, they are very weakly linked to the global governance system. This fact can be explained by the fear of loss of sovereignty and autonomy, which reveals that we are living in "an international system under conservative hegemony" Viola et al.

Its smaller political integration complicates efforts to deal with issues that require collective global action, particularly those related to the environment. This dynamic is very clear in the negotiations to manage climate change, where the material interests of oil-exporting countries are at stake Pereira Economic integration tends to reduce the likelihood of international environmental treaties ratification, while political globalization increases this probability. Therefore, energy exporting countries will hardly participate in the global governance of the environment.

Additionally, since these countries are poorly integrated in political institutions, they are less likely to adhere to international norms associated with the use of force, both nationally and across borders, so their behavior is not constrained as it should be. Moreover, their weak political institutional links mean that especially energy resource exporters have fewer forums in which to peacefully solve their tensions with other countries. Consequently, these states are also isolated regarding conflict behavior.

Nevertheless, these security guarantees can instigate exporting countries to act aggressively against other countries, namely those which are not exporters and don't have the same guarantees. Besides, the limited possibility of polluting the environment has the potential to inhibit resource extraction, another source of conflict, which is why the international community has to join forces to cooperate and manage the environment together through a geocentric perspective.

Thus, natural resources, either in scarcity or in abundance, are a source of conflict and, at the same time, cooperation. Power and wealth have always been associated to warfare and cooperation, but since the environment belongs to the entire humankind and globalization gave birth to a number of global environmental challenges, which can only be addressed by all, cooperation will have to prevail in an effort to keep order in the international system.

In fact, as Reed underlines, resource scarcities have obliged the governments of many countries to develop bilateral and regional resource management systems to prevent conflicts among neighbors while providing citizens with access to needed resources, which proves that environmental issues have the ability to promote cooperation. When managed properly, resource issues may help to foster a culture of environmental cooperation Proper resource governance could not only help resolve resource conflicts, but also prevent them and lead to peaceful mutual relations.

This meets the idea exposed in section 2, since it corroborates that, regarding global issues, international organizations and regimes have not an appropriate structure to manage and resolve such issues, reflecting the need for a reform in international institutions or even the creation of new ones, eminently global-oriented. In fact, institutions of resource governance and the environment are rudimentary at best and they largely ignore the issue at the heart of the problem Mildner et al. Thereby, geopolitics and globalization are not two incompatible concepts, inasmuch as globalization opens many doors for international conflict, which should be considered in the light of geopolitics, but it also calls for unprecedented cooperation.

Thus, the world may be heading for a new order or a new disorder. The growing interdependence among states and the global governance system "have borne fruit," but the international community is not free from the triggering of conflicts and wars. And here is where International Relations come in. The path for cooperation: why global environmental issues "belong" to International Relations. The environment is perhaps the most global and multidimensional issue in the international system and International Relations is a scientific field which benefits from a number of sciences and intends to combine knowledge from other disciplines with which the discipline itself develops, so it is the perfect field of study to analyze and build up a better understanding of the contemporary world.

It requires an understanding of each of the drivers of change" Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation , 1 , which means that, concerning a multidimensional and global issue such as the environment, International Relations seems to be the most appropriate discipline to develop and provide to local, regional and international stakeholders a framework to understand global dynamics and its implications for the international community, as well as underline risks and find paths for cooperation.

In the hybrid international system of the twenty-first century, where the world faces geopolitical challenges and the need to cooperate on a global scale, International Relations emerges as a highly relevant discipline. As we have seen, the world seems to be heading for a new global order or a new global disorder, deeply linked to the environment, which makes it extremely important to study this new global context, in order not to fall in global disorder.

Since International Relations study the diplomatic and strategic relations between or among states, cross-border transactions of all types and the multiple dimensions of contemporary globalization, it can contribute to building solutions for the new challenges of the twenty-first century, in other words, it can help promoting collective responses for problems that affect us all and for which there is no solution unless the international community joins forces, because the discipline has the potential to develop new knowledge about the political, economic and social dynamics of the present world.

What happens inside of a state influences the global sphere and what happens globally affects the domestic domain: that is what globalization has created and has been exacerbating, and that is what we need to understand with the view to adapt to these new circumstances, avoiding conflicts and benefiting from the existence of common issues to promote a cooperative and concerted international system. Nevertheless, there are some obstacles which have to be surpassed. Given that International Relations is a recent discipline, created after the end of the First World War, there is a very significant number of countries where this scientific field is still underdeveloped and underestimated, struggling to emancipate itself and conquer its very own place.

Therefore, it seems fair to assert that, in International Relations, in many countries, there is still a very inadequate and insufficient body of knowledge, as well as inappropriate methodologies and scarce resources. Wherefore, scholars of International Relations need to work hard with the aim of developing the discipline, as well as proving its value and importance for a changing and interconnected world. This would be extremely important not only to develop a discipline which emerges as fundamental for understanding the present world, but also to promote scientific studies and its conclusions among elites decision makers, stakeholders, etc.

With respect to the environment, all of the challenges already exposed in this article require, firstly, a holistic perspective on environmental insecurity, one that focuses on cause global, economic, political, modernity , context history, culture and effects health, natural disasters, slow cumulative changes, accidents, conflict Schnurr and Swatuk -International Relations has tools for developing this holistic perspective-and then a new way of living, a new philosophy of life.

In other words, extremely efficient life styles in terms of resource use and global responses, something that asks for a global mindset change. This is another challenge for International Relations' scholars, given that, in this discipline, one finds the prevalence of a paradigm that does not link human society with its biological basis the exception is traditional geopolitics , which is considered infinite. The truth is that the essential holistic paradigm still lies in the sideline of the discipline. However, because the protection of the environment constitutes a civilizational imperative, this paradigm must become predominant, in other words, International Relations' scholars have to develop this area towards a view which takes into account planetary boundaries.

It is impossible to develop this scientific field without transforming it towards a total perception of the unbreakable link between social and natural spheres. We need to find a new way of articulating the local and global environmental insecurities and injustices that affects us all, but unequally so Schnurr and Swatuk This requires a new approach to national interest. The international community must act keeping in mind global problems and, consequently, global interest, which is not contrary to national interest.

We must face national interest in a new way, different from the traditional one: we have to build a concept of national interest which is strictly related to global interest, in the sense that it is impossible to achieve the most important domestic goals without thinking globally, without achieving the interest of humankind, and the environment seems to corroborate this fact.

International Relations 101 (#4): Proximate versus Underlying Causes

Thus, national and global interests are two sides of the same coin and not two incompatible realities, simply because globalization, one way or another, links our destinies. Concerning water, for instance, we need to associate water management to global governance, in order to improve governance of the drivers causing pressures on water climate change, population growth, economic development.

Thirty to fifty percent of the food produced in the world is wasted, lost or converted Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and the production of energy is the second largest user of water, activities that put pressure on this vital resource and make it very difficult to fight against poverty in the most vulnerable regions of the globe and promote human rights. Taking into account the great civilizational challenge of climate change, the international community needs to "re-engineer the energy of nations" Legget , international leaders and citizens must converge and commit to provide a fair and efficient use of fundamental resources, as well as to develop the path for a green economy, which should be a priority in a globalizing world.

Although the international community is aware of the existence of global commons, global responsibilities and common goals, the truth is that, in practice, responses are based on narrow and simplistic approaches to the problems. There are neo-Malthusian assumptions of the future, but they seem to be insufficient to trigger effective action, hence the importance of promoting the prevalence of a holistic paradigm in International Relations.


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Current constraints can be broken and there is no need to be Malthusian, since trends are not destiny. Changing contexts must be explored and it is vital to highlight that new opportunities are also emerging Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation This is what Klare , calls "the race to adapt," which is "a contest to become among the first to adopt new materials, methods, and devices that will free the world from its dependence on finite resource supplies.

Power and wealth will come However, one may not forget that the creation of an effective environmental global governance regime and the move towards a green and sustainable economy will require political will and action from the greatest powers of the international system, both with regard to its internal contexts, as for the transition to sustainability in the poorest countries. The international community can start with a global governance regime for the resource sector which level the playing field for populations, governments, and businesses and encourage greater transparency and improved management of natural resource wealth Le Billon Thereby, scholars of International Relations have the potential and the duty to seek and propose new ways of global organization, holistic ones, because, as Hendrix and Noland , 56 argue, membership in international organizations and political globalization have powerful implications for reducing international conflict behavior and increasing respect for human rights, since international institutions can be important shapers and transmitters of international norms.

As we have seen, globalization and the emergence of new powers can create a climate of tension and conflict in the international system, but these processes also create a great opportunity to develop a regime of unprecedented multilateral co-operation. For this to happen, researchers of International Relations must study new ways of political integration, new institutions designed to face global long-term challenges and to embrace new emerging powers, inasmuch as the Western world cannot solve the twenty-first century problems alone and the Global South cannot achieve its most prominent goals without joining forces with developed countries of the North.

Ultimately, this may pressure world leaders to rethink the very basis of capitalism Legget -in other words, to develop a "sustainable capitalism"-which will affect our political and social structures. In a much more distant horizon, this could lead to a cosmopolitan perception of the international system, which would beat the current nationalist division of the world. The capacity of International Relations to make use of a plethora of data and knowledge from other disciplines makes it the right area to study global, international, national, community and individual perspectives, with the aim of revealing the complexity behind environmental insecurity, prevent wars in the international system and create a new global order based on multilateral cooperation, promoted by the need to preserve our common environment.

Throughout this article I exposed the Westphalian and post-Westphalian characteristics of the hybrid international system of the twenty-fist century, arguing that globalization acts in ambiguous ways and that environmental challenges are an important part of these ambiguous and unpredictable effects of globalization. Through the review of the most up to date research on environment and natural resources in particular, I intended to reveal how environmental issues touch on a number of different areas and how they constitute a global security risk, as well as a great opportunity to move towards global cooperation, asserting that geopolitics and globalization are not incompatible, on the contrary, they are complementary concepts, which are fundamental for understanding the world's current complexity.

And they are not alone. Others invoke Peirce and abduction as a research methodology with benefits for IR Rytovuori-Apunen: ; Finnemore 13; Ruggie a: 94 , however, Friedrichs, Kratochwil and Rytovuori-Apunen are the first to have provided a thorough engagement with what abduction represents methodologically; that is, the pragmatist philosophy that animates it. Sil and Katzenstein acknowledge that their appropriations may seem crude to those who know the philosophy of pragmatism well, but that the dialogue needs to get started, and once it has, what remains awkward in its appropriations from pragmatism and their implications for IR can be worked out along the way Pragmatism experienced a revival beginning in the s in the form of the neo-pragmatisms of Richard Bernstein, Richard Rorty, and Hilary Putnam.

This is significant, but so too is the constructivist turn in IR that is often credited for the blossoming of pragmatism in the field Kratochwil ; Widmaier Thus, the causal powers attributed to the structure of the international system are not given, as assumed by neo-realists and neo-liberals, but instead, are shaped by the way anarchy is constructed in the social practices that exist between states; the way anarchy constrains is down to how anarchy is construed by state actors within the system.


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  • From this beginning, the reconnection with political theory, philosophy and social theory in American IR begins anew. As Wendt writes, the effects of anarchy could be something quite apart from what the anarchy problematique suggests; and manifest as Hobbesian, Lockean or even Kantian cultures However, I would argue that these are unnecessarily conservative estimations of the benefit pragmatism can bring to the discipline.

    I agree with Rupra Sil, who writes. There is diversity apparent within constructivism. First, there are those who would be labelled along with Wendt and Ruggie as the mainstream within constructivism and who are interested in causation, albeit of a different, more ideational, kind from what positivists in IR had previously realised.

    However, what it has not gone on to do is the analysis of social values attached to social interaction. For all the interest constructivists have shown in identifying and examining the international norms that impact the social behaviors of states, and more recently the behaviors of a range of other kinds of actors too - intergovernmental and non-governmental actors — the positivist bias of the discipline that has bifurcated empirical from normative lines of inquiry has not been broken, not even within constructivism. And this is another area in which constructivism, and IR more generally, needs pragmatism too.

    Where normative and empirical forms of political inquiry had come to be viewed in American IR as separate and markedly different enterprises, with the latter emerging as overwhelmingly dominant, there was no similar decoupling in British IR. Those associated with the English school, recognizing the mark scientific theories were making upon the discipline, laboured to demonstrate the paucity of empirical work pursued independently of thought about standards for evaluating international political action.

    Bull The English school did not eschew ethical judgement altogether, but it often allowed its historical analysis of the actually-existing pattern of international order to dominate its views on the reasonableness of different ethical choices, particularly between the intersocietal values of order and justice and often prioritized order in the context of the Cold War. The critique that emerged of the School from normative IR was for its presumption of the good of the society of states because of the order it creates Frost Normative IR challenged the School to defend what normative value there is in international society and to think about an alternative organizing concept for the study of IR: what if we put justice rather than order at the centre of our inquiries into world affairs.

    The difficulty is that the English school lacked a method for doing this kind of inquiry, and constructivists have the same problem today. How is change to be directed? What is the moral or social value of norms, and what is lost, what is gained in the course of change? English school and constructivist scholars who are genuinely interested in such questions will have to study norms in the context of their normativity; that is, the processes of valuation that go on in the practices of international society.

    Both the English school and constructivists should be more interested in how valuation is done. Here is where pragmatism has more to offer than has hitherto been appreciated. Dewey offers a method of normative social inquiry that brings together empirical and normative lines of inquiry backed by a philosophy of valuation.

    This suggests that valuation too could be an important pragmatist research tool in assisting orientation in the social world. As Peter Manicas wrote in the first volume of the symposia:. Dewey believed, rightly, that human sciences could help us to understand ourselves: how we think and inquire and why, when thinking and inquiry is successful, it is successful. They would give us insight into what were our genuine interests and purposes and their relations, and most obviously, they would give us an understanding of the obstacles in present arrangements that keep us from realizing our genuine interests and purposes.

    Manicas There is no problem of knowledge in relation to the truth of a value; there is instead, warranted assertability to be found in the clues provided in the particular social values of the communities sharing in a problem, clues which are rendered through a working method of inquiry. As Dewey writes, our ends-in—view are but hypotheses to be tested in present conditions and can alter our ways of dealing with social issues for the better or not LW The proof, or warranted assertablility, is in the doing and in the outcomes of their application helpfully working for those concerned.

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    Efforts at valuation in future research could add insight into what social values are at play in contemporary international affairs, and how an expansion of value horizons might facilitate the creation of a coherent conceptual framework for articulating common goals within the international practice of issue domains, like nuclear weapons or climate change, where there is clearly an acute problematic situation, but no agreement on what exactly the problem is among the parties who share in the problem.

    International institutions and international norms have grown more extensive and encompassing in the years since the classical pragmatists were writing. Do international social conditions today reflect what the liberal internationalists aimed to describe and understand, the possibility of making social institutions better with the ends of individuals in view?

    Is there scope for thinking about justice as well as anarchy in the study of international relations? However, this contribution was not insignificant. It holds many lessons for the pluralisms that were to follow 19 in the ontological sense of what counts for study in the discipline.

    The discipline first turned to pragmatism as a critique of the assumptions of positivism, and to shape its calls for methodological pluralism. A further shame would be to leave it there. There may be others. Now, here comes another opportunity. IR is calling you, the philosophers of pragmatism.

    Sil and Katzenstein admit that their borrowings from pragmatism are crude and that they will need assistance in its application to analytic eclecticism along the way. The substantive concerns of James and Dewey at least stand as evidence that there is no reason why philosophers should turn away from international problems. Will philosophical pragmatists demonstrate an interest in international relations once again?

    Banks ed. Rennger eds. Democracy and Public Space , Dordrecht, Springer. Cochran ed. Ratner ed.