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Civilising statecraft: Andrew Linklater and comparative sociologies of states-systems

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 September 2017


Tim Dunne
Affiliation:
Professor of International Relations, School of Political Science and International Studies, The University of Queensland
Richard Devetak
Affiliation:
Associate Professor of International Relations, Head of the School of Political Science and International Studies, The University of Queensland.
Corresponding

Abstract

In this contribution to the forum marking the publication of Andrew Linklater’s remarkable book on Violence and Civilization in the Western States-Systems we first locate the book in the context of Linklater’s overarching intellectual journey. While best known for his contribution to a critical international theory, it is through his engagement with Martin Wight’s comparative sociology of states-systems that Linklater found resonances with the work of process sociologist, Norbert Elias. Integrating Wight’s insights into the states-system with Elias’s insights into civilising processes, Violence and Civilization presents a high-level theoretical synthesis with the aim of historically tracing restraints on violence. The article identifies a tension between the cosmopolitan philosophical history which underpins the argument of the book, and which has underpinned all Linklater’s previous works, and the ‘Utrecht Enlightenment’ that offers a conception of ‘civilized statecraft’ at odds with a universal conception of morality and justice. The article then examines Linklater’s argument about the ‘global civilizing process’ as it applies to post-Second World War efforts to build greater institutional capability to protect peoples from harm. It is argued that Linklater over-estimates the extent to which solidarism has civilised international society, and that the extension of state responsibilities and development of civilised statecraft owe more to pluralism than solidarism.


Type
Forum: Linklater’s Violence and Civilization in the Western States-Systems
Copyright
© British International Studies Association 2017 

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References

1 Beyond Realism and Marxism and The Transformation of Political Community were the sequels in the first trilogy, which, it must be said, was never formally presented to the reader in this way. Full citations to these three books are: Linklater, Andrew, Men and Citizens in the Theory of International Relations (London: Macmillan, 1982)Google Scholar; Linklater, Andrew, Beyond Realism and Marxism: Critical Theory and International Relations (London: Macmillan, 1990); Linklater, Andrew, The Transformation of Political Community: Ethical Foundations of the Post-Westphalian Era (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1998). For an extended account of Linklater’s Men and Citizens, see Devetak, Richard and Gout, Juliette, ‘Obligations beyond the state: Andrew Linklater’s Men and Citizens in the Theory of International Relations ’, in Henrik Bliddal, Casper Sylvest, and Peter Wilson (eds), Classics of International Relations: Essays in Criticism and Appreciation (Abingdon: Routledge, 2013), pp. 177186 Google Scholar.

2 Linklater, Beyond Realism and Marxism, p. vii.

3 Linklater, Beyond Realism and Marxism, p. 17.

4 Linklater, The Transformation of Political Community, p. 150.

5 Linklater, Andrew and Suganami, Hidemi, The English School of International Relations: A Contemporary Reassessment (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

6 ‘Rationalist’ here is used in the sense Wight gave it, drawing on John ‘Locke’s premise that men are reasonable, and that they live together according to reason even when they have no common government, as in the condition of international relations.’ Wight, Martin, International Theory: The Three Traditions, eds Gabriele Wight and Brian Porter (Leicester and London: Leicester University Press/The Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1991), p. 14Google Scholar; Linklater and Suganami, The English School of International Relations, p. 160. This appears in Chapter Five, one of the four chapters written by Linklater.

7 See, in particular, Buzan, Barry, From International to World Society? English School Theory and the Social Structure of Globalisation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

8 See Wight’s comment that international society ‘can be properly described only in historical and sociological depth’. Wight, Martin, ‘Western values in international relations’, in Herbert Butterfield and Martin Wight (eds), Diplomatic Investigations: Essays in the Theory of International Politics (London: Allen & Unwin, 1966), p. 96 Google Scholar.

9 Linklater, Andrew, The Problem of Harm in World Politics: Theoretical Investigations (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), p. 5 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

10 Linklater, Andrew, Violence and Civilization in the Western States-Systems (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), p. xiv CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Hereafter referred to as Violence and Civilization.

11 For two book length studies on Wight, see Hall, Ian, The International Thought of Martin Wight (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006)Google Scholar, and Chiaruzzi, Michele, Politica di Potenza nell’età del Leviatano: La Teoria Internazionale di Martin Wight (Bologna: Il Mulino, 2008)Google Scholar.

12 Linklater, Violence and Civilization, p. 5.

13 Linklater, Violence and Civilization, p. 217. On Vattel, see Devetak, Richard, ‘Law of nations as reason of state: diplomacy and the balance of power in Vattel’s Law of Nations ’, Parergon, 28:2 (2011), pp. 105128 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

14 Linklater, Violence and Civilization, p. 222.

15 Ibid., p. 272.

16 Kant, Immanuel, ‘Perpetual peace: a philosophical sketch’, in Hans Reiss (ed.), Kant’s Political Writings (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970), pp. 93115 (p. 103)Google Scholar.

17 See Hunter, Ian, Rival Enlightenments: Civil and Metaphysical Philosophy in Early Modern Germany (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001)Google Scholar and Hunter, Ian, ‘Kant’s regional cosmopolitanism’, Journal of the History of International Law, 12:2 (2010), pp. 165188 Google Scholar.

18 Pocock, J. G. A., ‘Enlightenment and counter-enlightenment, revolution and counter-revolution; a Eurosceptical enquiry’, History of Political Thought, 20:1 (1999), pp. 125139 (p. 128)Google Scholar. See also Pocock, J. G. A., Barbarism and Religion, Volume Two: Narratives of Civil Government (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999)Google Scholar on Enlightenment narratives of civil government.

19 Devetak, Richard, ‘Historiographical foundations of modern international thought: Histories of the European states-system from Florence to Göttingen’, History of European Ideas, 41:1 (2015), pp. 6277 (pp. 70–2)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

20 See Hunter, ‘Kant’s regional cosmopolitanism’.

21 Wight, ‘Western values’, pp. 89–131; Wight, ‘The balance of power’, in Butterfield and Wight (eds), Diplomatic Investigations, pp. 132–75 (p. 153).

22 Hunter, Ian, ‘Vattel’s law of nations: Diplomatic casuistry for the protestant nation’, Grotiana, 31 (2010), pp. 108140 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

23 Ian Hall, The International Thought of Martin Wight, p. 97.

24 Hurrell, Andrew, ‘Society and anarchy in the 1990s’, in B. A. Roberson (ed.), International Society and the Development of International Relations Theory (London: Continuum, 2002), pp. 1742 (p. 36)Google Scholar.

25 Linklater, Violence and Civilization, p. 341

26 See for example, Buchan, Bruce, ‘The empire of political thought: Civilization, savagery and perceptions of Indigenous government’, History of the Human Sciences, 18:1 (2005), pp. 122 Google Scholar; see also Keal, Paul, ‘Beyond “war in the strict sense”’, in Tim Dunne and Christian Reus-Smit (eds), The Globalization of International Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), pp. 165184 Google Scholar.

27 Linklater, Violence and Civilization, p. 380.

28 Ibid., p. 307. Linklater quotes Elias in relation to this point: practices of violence, Elias argues, differ historically ‘mainly in terms of the techniques used and the numbers of people concerned’ ( Elias, Norbert, Involvement and Detachment: Collected Works (Dublin: University College Dublin Press, 2007), p. 175)Google Scholar. While this may be true at a high level of generality, it should also be noted that some of the most brutal wars of extermination in the post-Cold War period were fought with hand-held knives and machetes.

29 Linklater, Violence and Civilization, p. 383.

30 Ibid., p. 396.

31 Ibid., p. 388. Linklater creatively draws on Elias as well as conventional IR writers such as Hinsley in his description of the attributes of statehood. ‘[T]he idea of sovereignty underpinned two other monopoly powers that reflect the linkages between state formation, the process of civilization, and the emergence of European international society: the legal right to represent the community in diplomatic negotiations and the associated authority to bind it in international law.’ For historical accounts of the globalization of the sovereign state and popular sovereignty, see Armitage, David, The Declaration of Independence: A Global History (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007)Google Scholar; and also Devetak, Richard and Tannock, Emily, ‘Imperial rivalry and the first global war’, in Dunne and Reus-Smit (eds), The Globalization of International Society, pp. 125144 Google Scholar.

32 Keene, Edward International Political Thought: An Historical Introduction (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2005)Google Scholar; Clark, Ian, Legitimacy in International Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005); Dunne, and Reus-Smit, (eds), The Globalization of International Society .

33 Linklater, Violence and Civilization, p. 339.

34 Ibid., p. 400.

35 Hedley Bull, Justice in International Relations (Hagey Lectures, Ontario: University of Waterloo, I984), p. 12.

36 Linklater, Violence and Civilization, p. 401.

37 Michael Ignatieff, quoted in Barnett, Michael, Empire of Humanity: A History of Humanitarianism (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2011), p. 102 Google Scholar. For an alternative argument asserting that Ignatieff is wrong in attributing the rise of human rights to a response to the Holocaust because the postwar origins of human rights lie more in domestic European political debates about ‘how to create social freedom within the boundaries of the state’, see Moyn, Samuel, Human Rights and the Uses of History (London: Verso, 2014), pp. 7376 Google Scholar.

38 See Article I of The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide (The United Nations General Assembly 1948).

39 This description of the Genocide Convention draws on Dunne, Tim and Staunton, Eglantine, ‘The genocide convention and Cold War humanitarian intervention’, in Alex Bellamy and Tim Dunne (eds), The Oxford Handbook of the Responsibility to Protect (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 3855 Google Scholar. For debates about the Convention and its provisions, see Fein, Helen, Genocide: A Sociological Perspective (New York: SAGE Publications, 1993)Google Scholar; Kuper, Leo, Genocide: Its Political Use in the Twentieth Century (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982); Shaw, Martin, What is Genocide? (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2007).

40 Glanville, Luke, Sovereignty and the Responsibility to Protect: A New History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014), p. 148 Google Scholar.

41 Glanville, Sovereignty and the Responsibility to Protect.

42 Moyn, Samuel, ‘On the nonglobalization of ideas’, in Samuel Moyn and Andrew Sartori (eds), Global Intellectual History (New York: Columbia University Press, 2013), pp. 187204 (p. 192)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

43 Moyn, ‘On the nonglobalization of ideas’, p. 192; Moyn, Human Rights and the Uses of History, p. 76.

44 Reus-Smit, Christian, Individual Rights and the Making of the International System (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar. See also Gary J. Bass, ‘The old new thing’, New Republic (20 October 2010), available at: {https://newrepublic.com/article/78542/the-old-new-thing-human-rights}.

45 Linklater, Violence and Civilization, pp. 382–3.

46 Hurrell, Andrew, On Global Order: Power, Values and the Constitution of International Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

47 This is of course a variant of Linklater’s insightful remark: ‘If there is more to international politics than realists suggest, there will always be less than the idealist or cosmopolitan desires.’ Linklater, Andrew, ‘The English School’, in Scott Burchill et al. (eds), Theories of International Relations (5th edn, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), pp. 88112 (p. 90)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

48 One can overstate how much they featured in Bull also. While pluralism and solidarism were foregrounded in ‘The Grotian conception of international society’ they feature much less prominently in The Anarchical Society. Compare Bull, Hedley, ‘The Grotian conception of international society’, in Butterfield and Wight (eds), Diplomatic Investigations Google Scholar, with Bull, Hedley, The Anarchical Society (London: Macmillan, 1977)Google Scholar. For a discussion of the fraught character of scholarly attempts to categorise Wight’s thought, see Dunne, Tim, Inventing International Society: A History of the English School (Houndmills: Macmillan, 1998), ch. 3 Google Scholar, and Hall, , The International Thought of Martin Wight, particularly ch. 1 Google Scholar.

49 Karlsrud, John, ‘Towards UN counter-terrorism operations?’, Third World Quarterly, 38:6 (2017), pp. 12151231 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

50 Wheeler, Nicholas J., Saving Strangers: Humanitarian Intervention in International Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000)Google Scholar.

51 Ban Ki-Moon, ‘Responsibility to Protect: State Responsibility and Prevention, Report of the Secretary-General’, General Assembly 67th Session (9 July 2013), available at: {http://responsibilitytoprotect.org/SG%20report%202013(1).pdf}.

52 Bull, Hedley, ‘Conclusion’, in Hedley Bull (ed.), Intervention in World Politics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986), p. 195 Google Scholar.

53 With regard to Resolution 1973 there were ten affirmative votes, five abstentions, and no votes against.

54 After the armed attack on Tripoli, the Indian Ambassador to the UN, Hardeep Puri, referred to NATO as the ‘armed wing’ of the UN Security Council. Discussed in Adams, Simon, ‘Libya’, in Bellamy and Dunne (eds), The Oxford Handbook of The Responsibility To Protect, pp. 768785 (p. 772)Google Scholar.

55 Wight, ‘Western values’, p. 97.

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