Contemporary theoretical debates surrounding accountability in global economic governance have often adopted a problem-focused analytical lens—centred on real-world political controversies surrounding the accountability of global governing authorities. This chapter explores four distinctive problems of global accountability for which empirical inquiry has usefully informed normative analysis: first, the problem of unaccountable power within global governance processes; second, the problem of decentred political authority in global governance; third, problems establishing appropriate foundations of social power through which normatively desirable transnational accountabilities can be rendered practically effective at multiple scales; finally, problems associated with the need to traverse significant forms of social and cultural difference in negotiating appropriate normative terms of transnational accountability relationships. In relation to each, this chapter examines how systematic engagement between empirical and normative modes of analysis can both illuminate the theoretical problem and inform practical political strategies for strengthening accountability in global economic governance.
Anthony Downs’s Economic Theory of Democracy has been marginalized in normative democratic theory, notwithstanding its prominence in positive political theory. For normative theorists, the “paradox of voting” testifies to the reality of moral motivation in politics, a species of motivation foreign to Downs’s theory and central to the ideals of deliberative democracy that normative theorists developed in the 1980s and 1990s. The deliberative ideal displaced aggregative conceptions of democracy such as Downs’s model. The ensuing segmentation of normative democratic theories that assume moral motives (like deliberative democracy) and positive models of democracy that assume selfish motives (like Downs’s theory) leaves both without the resources to diagnose the persistence of ideological partisanship and polarization that beset modern democracies. Engaging Downs’s theoretical contributions, especially the median voter theorem, would constitute a salutary step toward a democratic theory that integrates normative and positive theory.
It was not until the late 1980s when social constructivism gradually entered the stage that International Relations (IR) scholars started paying attention to communicative action. Today, this picture has changed dramatically and there is no IR textbook which does not cover “discourse” or “discourse theory.” This chapter concentrates on deliberation, arguing, and communicative action in a Habermasian sense. I start with a controversy in the German IR journal Zeitschrift für Internationale Beziehungen, which concentrated on the extent to which Habermas’s theory of communicative action could be made fruitful for the study of international relations, namely diplomacy and negotiations. I then discuss the state of the art with regard to the empirical evaluation of Habermasian assumptions. Scholarship not only demonstrated that arguing matters in global affairs, but discerned the (institutional) scope conditions under which deliberation affects negotiation outcomes. The chapter concludes with some thoughts on the normative implications for global governance.
This article first discusses the term “authoritarian regimes” and makes a claim for studying such regimes. An overview of the young but burgeoning research on authoritarian regimes structures the field in eight thematic clusters: (1) typological efforts and regime characteristics such as coalition formation and origins, (2) institutionalist approaches, (3) state-society relations beyond formal institutions, (4) repression, (5) political economy approaches, (6) international dimensions, (7) performance, and (8) linking the concepts of regimes and states. Although this wave of research has been extremely prolific, it still remains unsystematic and disparate in various regards. It is therefore necessary for this field of research to consolidate and thereby to contribute to genuine knowledge accumulation.
This article argues that ‘a balance of interests’ is a more satisfactory descriptor, analytical concept, and policy precept than ‘the national interest’. The first two sections describe the dissatisfaction with the national interest. The third part expounds the advantages of ‘interests’ in the plural, ‘balance’ instead of ‘national’, and ‘a’ rather than ‘the’. The final section illustrates the conceptual arguments with selected case studies. ‘The national interest’ is erroneous as a description of the empirical reality, substitutes tautology for explanation, and is unhelpful as a guide to policy. ‘A balance of interests’ is superior on all three counts of description, explanation, and prescription. It also captures human agency and allows for human error and multiple balances as weighed by different people, reflecting their personal predilections, professional backgrounds, life and career experiences, and institutional interests and perspectives.
This chapter examines ideas about war, peace, and international relations over the century preceding independence, of which there were many more and in greater depth than widely supposed. It outlines how and why Indians first began to articulate views on the subject, and subsequently analyses these ideas. It proposes that, contrary to the opinion of some scholars, Indians thought carefully about the nature of international relations. Most importantly, it emphasizes the plurality of views on the subject, and explains how and why proponents of pragmatism in foreign relations came to be sidelined in the period immediately preceding independence. Several of the personalities developing notions of what a foreign policy for India should involve as of the early twentieth century, including India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, became important actors in formulating and implementing foreign policy post-independence.
Carl Schmitt always presented himself and was above all a jurist. His doctoral dissertation was based on an antiformal theory of law that was also in evidence in his acerbic critics of the League of Nations and the system of control over Germany established in the Treaty of Versailles. This chapter shows that the concrete-order thinking of his later years espoused a more conventional legal realism that has always constituted an important stream of international jurisprudence. Schmitt’s main postwar work, Nomos der Erde, puts forward an influential view of the history of international law as inextricably entangled with the imperial pretensions. This chapter argues that the much-cited book, together with Schmitt’s polemical concept of law and his critiques of the discriminatory concept of war, has proven a fruitful basis for much of today’s postcolonial jurisprudence.
Carl Schmitt’s conceptual history of war is routinely invoked to comprehend the contemporary mutations in the concept and practice of war. This literature has passively relied on Schmitt’s interpretation of the nomos of the Ius Publicum Europaeum, which traced the transition from early modern ‘non-discriminatory war’ to the US–American promotion of discriminatory warfare as a new category in liberal international law . This chapter provides a critical reconstruction of Schmitt’s antiliberal narrative of war and argues that his polemical mode of concept formation led to a defective and, ultimately, ideological counterhistory of absolutist warfare, designed to denigrate liberalism’s wars as total while remaining silent on Nazi Germany’s de facto total wars. The historical critique is supplemented by an interrogation of his theoretical presuppositions: decisionism, the concept of the political, and concrete order thinking. It shows that Schmitt’s history of warfare is not only empirically defective but also theoretically unsecured by a succession of arbitrarily deployed and hyperabstract theoretical registers. At the center of Schmitt’s work yawns a huge lacuna: the absence of social relations as a category of analysis.
Theories of international political morality are often criticized for being too ideal. In this chapter, I unpack and examine this “excessive idealism critique.” I distinguish between two versions of it: one targets the use of idealizations in international political theorizing, the other focuses on insensitivity to feasibility constraints. I argue that, in both cases, the excessive idealism critique is only partially successful. While the use of idealizations and lack of attention to feasibility constraints may be contingently problematic, often they are not. I reach this conclusion by discussing the excessive idealism critique in relation to theories of global justice, of global democracy, and of the just war.
Lisa Ann Richey and Alexandra Budabin
Celebrity engagement in global “helping” is not a simple matter of highly photogenic caring for needy others across borders; it is a complex relationship of power that often produces contradictory functions in relation to the goals of humanitarianism, development, and advocacy. This article argues that celebrities are acting as other elite actors in international affairs: investing considerable capital into processes that are highly political. It traces the emergence and practices of the elite politics of celebrities in North-South relations, an evolution made possible by recent changes in aid practices, media, and NGOs, then considers exemplary cases of Angelina Jolie in Burma, Ben Affleck in the Democractic Republic of Congo, and Madonna in Malawi. These celebrity practices as diplomats, experts, and humanitarians in international affairs illustrate the diverse and contradictory forms of engagement by celebrity “helpers” in North-South relations.
Charles Beitz’s Political Theory and International Relations (PTIR) played a pioneering role for contemporary international political theory by bringing together two domains of inquiry that had proceeded largely independently from each other in the twentieth century. This chapter will assess PTIR’s contributions to international political theory and explore its continuing relevance for debates on sovereignty, human rights, and globalization in a plural world. After reviewing the ways in which PTIR shaped the evolution of both international relations theory and political theory by questioning the central assumptions of international anarchy and political autonomy and by establishing cosmopolitanism as the dominant mode of analysis for international political theory with its groundbreaking argument for a global difference principle, the chapter will conclude by identifying several productive tensions in Beitz’s work that can further enrich contemporary discussions of global justice.
This article outlines the origins and meanings of the concept of civilization in Western political thought. In doing so it necessarily explores the nature of the relationship between civilization and closely related ideas such as progress and modernity. In exploring these concepts, some of their less savory aspects are revealed, including things done in the name of civilization, such as conquest and colonization under the guise of the “burden of civilization.” The article outlines other important aspects, including the relationships between civilization and war and between civilization and the environment. It concludes with a discussion about rethinking and restructuring some of our perspectives on civilization.
As a discursive frame of climate justice movements, equity offers a powerful critique of anthropogenic climate change and identifies key features of an ethically defensible response to it. But a gap remains between the equity principles embraced within UNFCCC documents and those manifest in national commitments to mitigation actions or adaptation financing. This chapter examines how appeals to equity have affected negotiations, emboldened or constrained parties to the convention, and been embraced by civil society groups in climate governance processes. Against the view that commitments to equity have only obstructed the international climate policy development process, it argues that aspirations toward equity have focused attention upon subjects and issues that might otherwise have been ignored, and have otherwise served a legitimizing function within the climate regime.
Michael L. Barnett
This chapter provides a brief overview of constructivist international relations theory and explores how it can help explain two of the most important transformations in international security over the last century: the growing belief that the “human” should be an object of security, and the expanding metropolis of different kinds of actors whose goal is to produce security for all individuals in the name of “humanity” and the “international community.” The introduction to the chapter provides a quick background to the sociological context that gave birth to constructivism. Section 7.2 provides a brief conceptual overview of constructivism, with particular attention paid to those attributes that might be useful for students of international security and that will be relevant for the historical analysis in Section 7.3, which concerns the expansion of international security from a state-centric exercise to a growing role for the “international community” to defend “humanity.”
This chapter explores the ethical justifications actors in international politics may have to promote democracy in other countries. Although ethical debates surrounding the promotion of democracy often remain rather implicit, this chapter seeks to show that it is not irrelevant for our understanding of the practice, or for the practitioners themselves, to think through more carefully the ethical underpinnings that actually and potentially frame this policy agenda. Paying attention to the ethics of democracy promotion is significant not least because we observe that a variety of differing, and contested, ethical assumptions and frameworks can be used to frame the activity by different actors, organizations, and political groups.
The last 35 years have seen the emergence and defense of “cosmopolitan” accounts of justice and political institutions. This chapter examines the relationships between three leading cosmopolitan accounts of distributive justice (those of Charles Beitz, Henry Shue, and Thomas Pogge) and the environment. It further aims to explore at a more general level how cosmopolitan accounts of distributive justice need to consider both the environmental impacts of realizing their principles of justice and the environmental preconditions of realizing them, so as to ensure that their vision of the just society is sustainable and that humanity is not living beyond its means. Having examined the relationship between cosmopolitan accounts of justice and the environment, the chapter concludes by analyzing the relationship between cosmopolitan accounts of political institutions and the environment, exploring the implications for sovereignty and the scope of democratic institutions.
This chapter places the critical analysis of global health in wider intellectual and political perspective, situating critical thinking in relation to the philosophical idea of Enlightenment and ensuing debates about the nature of power, knowledge, and freedom. After a brief genealogy of critical thought, the chapter considers some of the main sources of critical thinking in global health and provides a brief survey of critical takes on health in the era of globalisation. It then considers three influential varieties of critique—of political economy, of representation, and of biopower—while touching on other critical perspectives, including feminism and anticolonial thought. As a way of prompting further reflection, the concluding section of the chapter considers recent debates about the problems of the critical enterprise itself.
Anna Jurkevics and Seyla Benhabib
This chapter assesses debates within the field of Critical Theory, broadly conceived, on central themes of international politics, including sovereignty, human rights, and American hegemony. After the Cold War, many critical theorists followed Jürgen Habermas’s shift in focus from domestic politics to the “post-national constellation.” We explore Habermasian critiques of Westphalian sovereignty and the accompanying call for cosmopolitan solutions to crises of human rights and migration. We also consider the critical re-evaluations of sovereignty that arose following 9/11 in response to the American “war on terror.” Finally, we turn to the recent return to sovereignty within Critical Theory. The most convincing new approaches call for a nuanced evaluation of the relationship between sovereignty and cosmopolitanism in order to rethink the institutional configuration of a world order that is already decidedly post-national.
Chris Hendershot and David Mutimer
This chapter intends to provoke the present in order to motivate an unsettling and un-settled future for Critical Security Studies (CSS). To be unsettling CSS must (continue to) commit to unconventional inquisitiveness through refusing discipline and embracing reflexive accountability. To be un-settled, CSS must do the serious work of decolonizing. The need to decolonize as an effort to support indigenous sovereignty may create the unsettling possibility that CSS does not have a future. To imagine that CSS has no future is to take reflexive account of the colonial complicities of Anglo-European scholarship, while becoming open to fostering more meaningful collaborations with Indigenous people. Being unsettled and becoming un-settled must be a collaborative effort among all knowledge producers in order to critically confront the past, present, and future problems of doing and thinking (through) security.
Conceptions of deliberative or discursive democracy are applied increasingly also to global governance institutions, typically coupled with calls for more participation and civil society access. Critics argue, however, that global political institutions cannot accommodate meaningful practices of deliberation and participation. In this chapter I review the current state of this controversy. I first disentangle several promises of deliberation in global governance and distinguish micro and macro conceptions of deliberation. I then scrutinize deliberative practices as they currently exist in intergovernmental negotiation and multi-stakeholder networks. A number of problems seem to compromise the democratizing potential of these practices: enduring asymmetries in power and status; high levels of expertise as precondition for participation; disconnect between micro-settings of deliberation and macro-level debates. I conclude that existing forms of global deliberation may increase the epistemic quality of decisions made for the people but should not be interpreted as democratic self-governance by the people.