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Christopher Daase, Peace Research Institute Frankfurt and Goethe University Frankfurt,Nicole Deitelhoff, Peace Research Institute Frankfurt and Goethe University Frankfurt,Antonia Witt, Peace Research Institute Frankfurt
Over thirty years ago, Frank Klink and I wrote a paper on anarchy, authority, and rule—the first of its kind and a touchstone for subsequent theorizing about states and their relations. We sought to rebut prevailing claims about anarchy as the absence of authority and replace these concepts with a scheme centered on conditions of rule in every society. We identified three forms of rule: hegemony (inspired by Gramsci), hierarchy (drawing on Weber), and heteronomy (inspired by Kant, drawing on liberal theory). We argued that the relations of states exhibit elements of all three forms of rule to the abiding advantage of some few states. There is today a great deal of interest in rule in international relations but less interest in our three-part conceptual scheme. Looking back, I believe it holds up in its own terms but works even better when situated in an overarching framework linking three types of speech acts, derivative types of rules, and correlative forms of rule. I erected this framework in World of Our Making (1989) and reprise it here. I conclude by showing how modernity has reinvigorated status to support sovereign equality, thereby conjoining hegemony and hierarchy in a durably heteronomous world.
Kratochwil's magnificent The Status of Law in World Society's first meditation, a philosophical discursus masquerading as a meditation about meditation, addresses how International Law and International Relations deal so differently with their common concerns. Kratochwil treats these concerns with his usual cogency. Yet, critical links are missing. How do we get from speaking as a normative practice to the status of law in today's world? How does language (even more than law) go from an ‘agency-related notion’ to ‘a pervasive force penetrating all social relations’? The bewitchment of the world through language is ontology's greatest mystery, worthy of endless meditation.
International Legitimacy and World Society. By Ian Clark. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. 248p. $55.00.
Ian Clark has written two books about international legitimacy. Linked by Clark's conviction that legitimacy is a normatively freighted practice, related to but not to be confused with moral, legal, and constitutional practices, the two books are complementary in design. The first (Legitimacy in International Society, 2005) forthrightly accepts a guiding premise of the English School: States are members of a distinct society, reflected in common rules and institutions that have grown up over several centuries. In that book, he holds that the core principles legitimating any society, including international society, depend on a social bond or sense of obligation.
From Empire to Community: A New Approach to International
Relations. By Amitai Etzioni. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.
Amitai Etzioni is a seasoned political sociologist and leading voice
in the communitarian program to offset the narcissistic and alienating
individualism of liberal modernity. Communitarians emphasize the affective
bonds that make community an indispensable feature of the human condition
and, thus, the local conditions within which individual human beings are
best able to understand and act on the common good. Notwithstanding
republican antecedents, communitarians have effectively abandoned the
universalistic tendencies of cosmopolitan Enlightenment republicanism to
rights-minded liberals. In doing so, most communitarians have neglected
The editors of Bridges and Boundaries asked contributors—nine political scientists and eight historians, all of them North American—to reflect on their respective disciplines and the way they go about “the study of international events” (p. 1). We should notice a positivist disposition here. While contributors “share an interest…in the state, politics and war” (p. 2), events are the stuff of international relations. That the state, politics, and war are complex institutional phenomena perhaps not reducible to events points to conceptual issues that this volume fails generally to address. Instead, contributors discuss the many problems attending generalized explanation and empirical fit—theory and science—as if their shared interests imply a common stock of core concepts.
Renewed interest in international institutions makes clear the need for a better theory of institutional possibilities. Friedrich Hayek held that institutions are either designed, though badly, or emerge spontaneously, and providently, as an unintended consequence of agents' self-interested choices. Hayek's historical sketch misses a third set of possibilities reflecting the claim that agents make institutions in keeping with nature's design or, as we say today, make them on some occasions to suit large social purposes. The English School treats institutions as spontaneous developments. Liberal scholars in the US start with the rationalist position that agents design institutions as they see fit, but end up closer to the view that institutions constitute a purposive whole.
For more than two decades, historians of the United States have energetically debated the relative importance of liberalism and republicanism in the 1770s and 1780s. Was the late eighteenth century a time of progress, and events culminating in the ratification of the Constitution a triumph for individual rights and liberal society, as convention held? Or was it a time of decay, and the events of the founding a renewal of citizen virtue in defense of the common good? Political theorists and constitutional scholars joined the debate, extending it beyond the founding and noting its relevance to our own time. Everyone agreed that liberalism eventually prevailed, more or less completely, for better or for worse. Just when it did so, and why, were questions always asked but never satisfactorily answered as the debate ran its course.