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Violence and Civilization in the Western States-Systems
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Book description

Andrew Linklater's The Problem of Harm in World Politics (Cambridge, 2011) created a new agenda for the sociology of states-systems. Violence and Civilization in the Western States-Systems builds on the author's attempts to combine the process-sociological investigation of civilizing processes and the English School analysis of international society in a higher synthesis. Adopting Martin Wight's comparative approach to states-systems and drawing on the sociological work of Norbert Elias, Linklater asks how modern Europeans came to believe themselves to be more 'civilized' than their medieval forebears. He investigates novel combinations of violence and civilization through a broad historical scope from classical antiquity, Latin Christendom and Renaissance Italy to the post-Second World War era. This book will interest all students with an interdisciplinary commitment to investigating long-term patterns of change in world politics.


‘Using a masterful synthesis of Elias’s process sociology and Wight’s comparative states-systems, Linklater gives us an eye-opening history lesson on how the civilizing process worked at both the domestic and international levels to embed restraints on violence. In this long anticipated second volume of his trilogy on harm, he surveys nothing less than the history of Western civilization to provide the empirical evidence for his case that we have made progress.’

Barry Buzan - Emeritus Professor of International Relations, London School of Economics and Political Science

'In one monumental, breath-taking volume Andrew Linklater has synthesised Eliasian historical sociology with English School IR theory and has created something of epic proportions that I doubt Norbert Elias or Martin Wight could have achieved. This book is not simply a worthy heir to Elias’s 2-volume masterpiece, The Civilizing Process, but its brilliance is such that it should take its rightful place alongside Michael Mann’s first volume of The Sources of Social Power and Immanuel Wallerstein’s first volume of The Modern-World System.’

John M. Hobson - University of Sheffield

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