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Some scholars may have little difficulty in seeing the present as a shatterspace of empires and a palimpsest of past ones. For others, seeing the world through the filter of colonialism and imperialism requires a kind of Gestalt switch. Empire seems to be as invisible in the US as in Europe and even its former colonies. The copious evidence that empires existed in the hearts and minds of European populations even after 1945 has been vigorously denied. Conversely, a cloud of colonial amnesia descended in the former metropoles almost immediately after colonial independence. In the end, only those on the receiving end of imperial violence seem to readily frame the world in terms of empire. The social sciences remain doggedly focused on ‘domestic’ questions framed by theories devoid of any reference to time and place. This chapter examines the afterlives of colonialism.
This overarching chapter offers a comprehensive overview on how history is dealt with in International Relations (IR) and presents a conceptual framework for the study of history in IR based on the concept of historicity. The chapter also makes the case why looking at imperialism – the cross-cutting theme addressed in every chapter in this book – is a particularly fruitful way for both tracing the role of history in international politics and making use of the concept of historicity. The chapter introduces in particular six modes of historicity which shape its core argument on the centrality of history for a better understanding and better analyses of international politics.
In recent years, scholars of international legal history have demonstrated much newfound interest in C.H. Alexandrowicz, a Polish jurist renowned for his anti-Eurocentric revisionist account of Asian and African agency within the meta-narrative of international law. Building on efforts to link his Polish origins with his studies of the Afro-Asian world, especially on matters of imperialism and state personality, my purpose in this Article is to explore these connections through a materially grounded historical sociology of international legal thought. Centering the issue of whether sovereignty is divisible, I situate the historic Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth—extinguished by a series of Partitions in 1772, 1793, and 1795—as a unique divided sovereignty-based polity that provided a basis for Alexandrowicz’s study of the juridical status of non-European sovereigns. This analogy united his overarching critique of nineteenth-century international legal positivism as an unjustifiable denial of both Polish and Afro-Asian sovereignty. In deciphering the materiality of Alexandrowicz’s imagination against this presumption, I build a narrative of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the evolution of its distinct approach to sovereign divisibility. Through analysis of the interplay between internal and external factors, I account for the Commonwealth’s medieval origins, its development in opposition to the consolidating indivisible sovereignty of its absolutist neighbors, its attempts to maintain independence in the face of Partition, and the continued assertions of its variegated legacies following its destruction. This, I argue, provides a novel means of assessing Alexandrowicz’s theory, and the materiality of international law more generally.
The past is constantly present, not least in the study of imperialism and imperial forms of power in international politics. This volume shows how historical trajectories have shaped international affairs covering a wide range of imperial and (post-) colonial settings in international politics, substantiating the claim that imperial and colonial legacies - and how they have transformed over time - are foundational to the historicity of international politics. It contributes to debates on the role of history in International Relations (IR) by combining theoretical arguments on the role of history through the concept of 'historicity' with concrete empirical analyses on a wide range of imperial and colonial legacies. This volume also advances interdisciplinary perspectives on this topic by fostering dialogue with Historical Sociology and Global History. It will interest scholars and advanced students of IR, historical sociology and global politics, especially those working on the history of international politics, and the legacies of colonialism and imperialism.
The introduction starts with a factual element showing the exponential development of randomly selected minipublics, which seem to remember the Athenian democracy. It describes the growing interest about sortition in the literature, both in history and in political science. It defends the strategy of the book, which couples historical sociology and political theory. It defends four claims. The first criticizes the idea that sortition in politics has preserved a transhistorical democratic logic, as political sortition has played a number of varied functions throughout history. The second claim explains the disappearance of sortition in the nineteeth century by a combination of factors: Without the notion of the representative sample, the use of chance appeared blind, irrational, incompatible with popular sovereignty, difficult to couple with an elective aristocracy or with an increasing division of labor in big nation states. The third claim is that sortition’s recent return to politics is explained by the coupling of representative sampling, which make possible the constitution of a “minipublic” or microcosm of the people, with deliberation. The fourth claim proposes a normatively convincing and politically realistic case for empowered minipublics and the democratization of democracy. The introduction concludes by presenting the outline of the book.
This chapter attempts to build a transdisciplinary methodology to historicize modernity. The need for transdisciplinarity stems from the idea that disciplinary divisions and categories (such as the political, the economic, the social and the international) are the products of modernity, and hence cannot be used to study modernity’s history, which would otherwise impose the structure of modern (capitalist) society onto a differently constituted past. I use a twofold methodological critique to problematize these disciplinary divisions and the attendant tendency to transhistorize the sociospatial parameters of the modern present: the critique of “methodological presentism” and "methodological internalism.
This chapter outlines the conceptual framework used in the book. Contrary to understandings of revolution based on their outcomes – on which basis the uprisings of 2011 are excluded from the definition of revolutions – this chapter argues that only a more open definition can encompass the phenomenon of counter-revolution. Adopting instead the idea of a revolutionary situation, the chapter outlines different forms of counter-revolution as a project of preventing or turning back a revolution through closing a revolutionary situation. Counter-revolution, the chapter demonstrates, cannot rely solely on the elite of the old regime but requires a popular base as well as external support. To succeed, therefore, counter-revolutionaries must unite the ‘counter-revolution from above’, ‘counter-revolution from below’ and ‘counter-revolution from without.’ Yet the social basis of such alliances has changed. Whereas the classic forms of European and colonial counter-revolution relied upon agrarian classes (sometimes united with urban capitalists and the lower middle class) supported by external powers, post-1975 democratising political revolutions were characterised by the absence or acquiescence of such classes and the encouragement of a liberal international order under US dominance. The Arab uprisings, by contrast, faced competitive regional counter-revolutions waged by financial and security elites – bolstered by the inheritance of previous revolutions from above.
The 'Arab Spring' has come to symbolise defeated hopes for democracy and social justice in the Middle East. In this book, Jamie Allinson demonstrates how these defeats were far from inevitable. Rather than conceptualising the 'Arab Spring' as a series of failed revolutions, Allinson argues it is better understood as a series of successful counter-revolutions. By comparing the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Bahrain, Libya and Yemen, this book shows how these profoundly revolutionary situations were overturned by counter-revolutions. Placing the fate of the Arab uprisings in a global context, Allinson reveals how counter-revolutions rely on popular support and cross borders to forge international alliances. By connecting the Arab uprisings to the decade of global protest that followed them, this innovative work demonstrates how new forms of counter-revolution have rendered it near impossible to implement political change without first enacting fundamental social transformation.
How did upstart outsiders forge vast new empires in early modern Asia, laying the foundations for today's modern mega-states of India and China? In How the East Was Won, Andrew Phillips reveals the crucial parallels uniting the Mughal Empire, the Qing Dynasty and the British Raj. Vastly outnumbered and stigmatised as parvenus, the Mughals and Manchus pioneered similar strategies of cultural statecraft, first to build the multicultural coalitions necessary for conquest, and then to bind the indigenous collaborators needed to subsequently uphold imperial rule. The English East India Company later adapted the same 'define and conquer' and 'define and rule' strategies to carve out the West's biggest colonial empire in Asia. Refuting existing accounts of the 'rise of the West', this book foregrounds the profoundly imitative rather than innovative character of Western colonialism to advance a new explanation of how universal empires arise and endure.
La délégation de la violence en contexte de guerre civile est souvent lue comme une érosion de l’État au profit d'acteurs non-étatiques incontrôlables. Nous soulignons ici les limites de cette lecture à partir d'une analyse du conflit afghan, en particulier de l'arbitrage qui a eu lieu sous l'administration Karzai entre l'accroissement des effectifs militaires pro-gouvernementaux et leur contrôle. Nous montrons non seulement que la présence de troupes internationales a considérablement affecté cet arbitrage, mais aussi que, contrairement aux interprétations dominantes, celui-ci révèle une volonté d'appropriation du processus de formation de l’État par ses élites plus qu'un recul de l’État lui-même.
Chapter 2 discusses historical sociology as the framework adopted to develop a new approach to early modern jurisdictions. The project aims to enrich diplomatic history's institutional and cultural paradigm through a more productive engagement with new legal histories of extraterritoriality and historical materialist approaches. Debates regarding Eurocentrism and how to conceptualise imperial agency in historical sociology are discussed, and an outward methodological internalism is proposed as required by the research problem posed in Chapter 1, namely the problem of narrow and linear sources of the means of imperial expansions of authority such as ambassadorial immunities. To frame this methodology, the commodity form theory of law is discussed as a powerful but overly structural approach to processes of expansion that conflates mercantilism and capitalism. In response, the methodology is framed instead by Political Marxism, as a more agency-based and historicist approach to international history, that relies on the concept of social property relations.
The international relations (IR) literature appears to be divided into two fundamentally different views about the basic structure of the international system and its institutions. On one view, the expansion and opening of international institutions in the 20th Century to include more actors and greater geographical reach, combined with strengthening democracy norms, are driving the democratization of international institutions. At the same time, a more critical literature is emerging that instead views the system as permeated by multiple forms of hierarchy and deep structures of domination. This chapter, in contrast, argues that political equality and inequality obstinately co-exist in international institutions because of their very role in regulating access to collective goods. It develops what I call the closure thesis to explain how institutional designs reflect an ongoing struggle between the assertion of equal rights and the preservation of unequal privileges. This argument requires re-thinking three premises: that equality and inequality are antagonistic; that greater inclusiveness typically promotes a move towards greater equality; and that international institutions provide global public goods. This chapter elaborates on these points, situates them in the literature, introduces the closure thesis, and outlines the rest of the book.
Since the seventeenth century, scholars have argued that kinship as an organizing principle and political order are antithetical. This book shows that this was simply not the case. Kinship, as a principle of legitimacy and in the shape of dynasties, was fundamental to political order. Throughout the last one and a half millennia of European and Middle Eastern history, elite families and polities evolved in symbiosis. By demonstrating this symbiosis as a basis for successful polities, Peter Haldén unravels long-standing theories of the state and of modernity. Most social scientists focus on coercion as a central facet of the state and indeed of power. Instead, Halden argues that much more attention must be given to collaboration, consent and common identity and institutions as elements of political order. He also demonstrates that democracy and individualism are not necessary features of modernity.
This introduction situates this book within scholarly debates over the ancient Roman economy and the economy of Palestine in particular. By articulating a methodological framework that draws on historical sociology and New Institutional Economics, it sets the foundation for a study of socioeconomic change that focuses on formal and informal institutions that produce and sustain inequalities of economic, political, and ideological power.
In March 1974, trade union leader and Chairman of the Socialist Party of India, George Fernandes, formed a new independent trade union of railway workers and then led a massive nation-wide strike lasting about a month. Two years later—March 1976—Fernandes was arrested as the principal accused in the Baroda Dynamite Conspiracy Case, a plot to bomb strategic targets in New Delhi in resistance to Indira Gandhi’s authoritarian rule. How did George Fernandes’ political work change over these two years—from engaging in traditional trade union movement tactics during the Railway Workers’ Strike in 1974 to being the ringleader of a plan to bomb strategic targets in resistance to the postcolonial state? Why would an activist who advocated non-violent social movement tactics change strategies and end up leading a movement that primarily uses violent tactics? I argue that in its violent repression of the Railway Workers’ Strike and its illegal imprisonment of the strike’s leaders, Indira Gandhi’s administration demonstrated to Fernandes and other opposition party leaders that there was no room for a peaceful solution to the ever increasing social conflict of early 1970s India. Therefore, when Gandhi instated herself as dictator, longstanding advocates of satyagraha believed that symbolic violence against the state was the tactic most likely to lead to the restoration of democracy in India.
This article employs a postcolonial historical sociological approach to studying state formation in Iraq between 1914–24. In doing so, it synthesises insights from the ‘historical’ and ‘imperial’ turns in International Relations (IR), to understand the state as a processual and relational entity shaped by the imperial relations through which it emerged. Drawing on the case of Iraq, this article demonstrates how British imperial relations (‘international’) interlaced with anti-colonial struggles (‘domestic’) to foster a historically specific pattern of Iraqi state formation. In making these claims, this article contributes to bridging IR's analytical divide between ‘international’ and ‘domestic’ spaces, while undermining IR's universalist assumptions about the ‘spread’ of the state from Europe to the Arab world. Rather, this article demonstrates that the imperial encounter was constitutive of the type of state that emerged, thereby highlighting the agency of anti-colonial struggles in producing historically specific patterns of state domination.
This article argues that the case of the Egyptian 2011 revolution forces us to rethink accounts of counter-revolution in International Relations. The debate over whether the events of 2011–13 in Egypt should be considered a ‘revolution’ or merely a ‘revolt’ or ‘uprising’ reflects an understanding of revolutions as closed and discrete events, and therefore of international counter-revolution as significant only after revolutionary movements have seized sovereign power. Against this account, which maintains the idea of sovereignty as the boundary between domestic/social and international/ geopolitical phenomena, I argue that counter-revolutions can operate across boundaries during revolutionary situations before and to prevent revolutionary transformation and therefore affect whether a revolutionary sovereign power is established at all. Such counter-revolutions draw upon both the ideological inheritance of historical strategies of international ‘catch-up’, and the cross-border class relations that these different strategies bring into being. In the Egyptian case, the counter-revolution thus relied upon two factors deriving from this strategy: the ideological inheritance of Nasserism as a response to international hierarchy, and the integration of the post-Nasser Egyptian ruling elite with Gulf financial, and US security, networks.
Debates over ‘modernity’ have been central to the development of historical-sociological approaches to International Relations (IR). Within the bourgeoning subfield of International Historical Sociology (IHS), much work has been done to formulate a historically dynamic conception of international relations, which is then used to undermine unilinear conceptions of global modernity. Nevertheless, this article argues that IHS has not proceeded far enough in successfully remedying the problem of unilinearism. The problem remains that historical narratives, informed by IHS, tend to transhistoricise capitalism, which, in turn, obscures the generative nature of international relations, as well as the fundamental heterogeneity of diverging paths to modernity both within and beyond western Europe. Based on the theory of Uneven and Combined Development, Political Marxism, and Robbie Shilliam’s discussion of ‘Jacobinism’, this article first reinterprets the radical multilinearity of modernity within western Europe, and then utilises this reinterpretation to provide a new reading of the Ottoman path to modernity (1839–1918). Such a historical critique and reconstruction will highlight the significance of Jacobinism for a more accurate theorisation of the origin and development of the modern international order, hence contributing to a deeper understanding of the international relations of modernity.
This article reviews Andrew Linklater’s Violence and Civilization in the Western States-Systems. Focusing upon the book’s explanation of the ‘European civilizing process’ in the modern era, it suggests that the account is limited by ‘civilizational isolationism’ and ‘metrocentric diffusion’. These analytic operations serve to minimise the agency and contributions of non-Western, colonial, and postcolonial actors to the global civilizing process. The occlusion of such agency and contributions, however, are not specific to this work, but reflect broader limitations in historical sociology writ large.
Andrew Linklater’s Violence and Civilization in the Western States-System is to be both praised and critiqued for opening spaces for discussing civilisational standards in the era of a globalising world. It offers a healthy provocation for inquiry into how non-Western states ought to comprehend the legacies of Western political evolution colouring existing ‘IR’ as a discipline. Linklater’s book inspires three thematic reactions: globalisation does bring harm; the notion of a universal civilisation remains open to debate; and the possibilities of civilising patterns in premodern Southeast Asia serving as supplementary mirrors and extensions of the relationship between violence and civilisation. It is suggested that Linklater’s sequel must consider the trajectory of non-Western sociologies of IR.