Transforming international order?

Bromley, Simon and Smith, Mark (2004). Transforming international order? In: Brown, William; Bromley, Simon and Athreye, Suma eds. Ordering the International: History, Change and Transformation. London: Pluto Press, pp. 523–568.



In this chapter we want to look at different approaches to the issue of whether, and how, the international system might be changing. In doing this we concentrate on three areas of inquiry. The first is to look at how the different mainstream models of international order address the issue of transformation and we shall review realism (in the remainder of this section), liberalism (in Section 2) and Marxism (in Section 4). In between our consideration of liberalism and Marxism, however, we pause to reflect on the fact that theories of transformation inevitably acknowledge that the existing state of affairs does not exhaust the possibilities of how our world is ordered. This critical dimension of theories of transformation forms our second area of inquiry. The idea of a critical theory is first introduced as part of our discussion of liberalism in Section 2.2. Section 3 then takes up the question of the "standpoints" from which critiques are made and discusses this question in relation to post-colonial and feminist critiques of liberal claims to universality. Our third area of inquiry is concerned with those theories of transformation that take the cultural and technological sectors of the international system as their starting point. We review claims of theorists who focus on culture in Section 5 and on the technological basis of globalization in Section 6.

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