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“Civilization” is back at the forefront of global policy debates. The leaders of rising powers such as China, India, Turkey, and Russia have stressed their civilizational identity in framing their domestic and foreign policy platforms. An emphasis on civilizational identity is also evident in U.S. president Donald Trump's domestic and foreign policy. Some analysts argue that the twenty-first century might belong to the civilization state, just as the past few centuries were dominated by the nation-state. But is the rise of civilization state inevitable? Will it further undermine the liberal international order and fuel a clash of civilizations, as predicted by the late Samuel Huntington? Or might ideas from East Asian and other non-Western civilizations contribute to greater pluralism in our thinking about world order and the study of international relations?
This book presents a challenge to the discipline of international relations (IR) to rethink itself, in the light of both its own modern origins, and the two centuries of world history that have shaped it. By tracking the development of thinking about IR, and the practice of world politics, this book shows how they relate to each other across five time periods from nineteenth-century colonialism, through two world wars, the Cold War and decolonization, to twenty-first-century globalization. It gives equal weight to both the neglected voices and histories of the Global South, and the traditionally dominant perspectives of the West, showing how they have moved from nearly complete separation to the beginnings of significant integration. The authors argue that IR needs to continue this globalizing movement if it is to cope with the rapidly emerging post-Western world order, with its more diffuse distribution of wealth, power and cultural authority.