Anke Hassel, Henni Hensen, and Anne Sander
In the course of globalization, the locus of labor regulation has increasingly shifted toward the supranational level. However, the debate on global labor standards continues to be riddled by the question of the relationship between economic globalization and labor standards. This debate can be outlined along two main arguments: the liberal perspective, which sees a positive impact of globalization on working conditions worldwide, is opposed by those who claim a negative impact leading to a race to the bottom—a hypothesis based on the assumption that the liberalization of the international economic order intensifies competition, sharpens the fight for competitive advantages, and subsequently contributes to a downward spiral in wages and labor standards. In sum, the argument is that the effect of increased global competition leads to a growing worldwide inequality between high-skilled and low-skilled workers. One of the most significant new features of the internationalizing economy is labor migration. Low-qualified workers often migrate into hazardous conditions as they are not adequately integrated and protected in their host countries. Meanwhile, there are two major contested issues in the global labor governance debate: the debate around soft versus hard law and the relationship between labor rights and human rights. With the growing academic debate on international labor, a growing body of regulatory organizations and instruments has developed. Global labor is structured along three main lines: international (governmental) organizations and international standard setting; transnational labor movements and tripartite mechanisms; and private regulatory instruments such as Codes of Conduct (CoC) and multistakeholder initiatives.
Gavan Duffy and Sean Miskell
International Studies (IS) generally refers to the specific university degrees and courses which are concerned with the study of the major political, economic, social, and cultural issues that dominate the international agenda. The terms and concepts of IS and international relations (IR) are strongly related; however, IR focuses more directly on the relationship between countries, whereas IS can encompass all phenomena which are globally oriented. Since the artifacts of world politics—international laws and treaties, foreign policies, diplomatic exchanges, military plans, and journalistic accounts—are usually presented in textual and/or verbal form, it is only natural to examine international political mechanism via linguistic models. Automatic content analysis is more and more becoming an accepted research method in social science. In political science, researchers are using party manifestos and transcripts of political speeches to analyze the positions of different actors. But while analysts are accustomed to incorporating manifestos, speeches, media reports, and other documents as evidence in their studies, few approach the task with the same level of understanding and sophistication as when applying other, more quantitative methods. Indeed, while recent innovations in statistical analysis have lent significant precision to the study of political texts, these advances have vastly outstripped those in the interpretive field.
Gretchen J. Van Dyke
The United Nations and the European Union are extraordinarily complex institutions that pose considerable challenges for international studies faculty who work to expose their students to the theoretical, conceptual, and factual material associated with both entities. One way that faculty across the academic spectrum are bringing the two institutions “alive” for their students is by utilizing in-class and multi-institutional simulations of both the UN and the EU. Model United Nations (MUN) and Model European Union simulations are experiential learning tools used by an ever-increasing number of students. The roots of Model UN simulations can be traced to the student-led Model League of Nations simulations that began at Harvard University in the 1920s. Current secondary school MUN offerings include two initiatives, Global Classrooms and the Montessori Model Union Nations (Montessori-MUN). Compared to the institutionalized MUNs, Model EU programs are relatively young. There are three long-standing, distinct, intercollegiate EU simulations in the United States: one in New York, one in the Mid-Atlantic region, and one in the Mid-West. As faculty continue to engage their students with Model UN and Model EU simulations, new scholarship is expected to continue documenting their experiences while emphasizing the value of active and experiential learning pedagogies. In addition, future research will highlight new technologies as critical tools in the Model UN and Model EU preparatory processes and offer quantitative data that supports well-established qualitative conclusions about the positive educational value of these simulations.
Sixteenth-century Europe saw the emergence of a modern project that soon spread to other parts of the globe through conquest, colonization and imperialism, and finally globalization. In its historical development, modernity has radically remade the institutional and organizational structures of many traditional societies worldwide. It followed two distinct trajectories: the transformation of traditional societies within Western cultures, on the one hand, and the implementation of modernity in non-Western cultures, on the other. The emergence and development of modernity can be explained using three interrelated domains: ideology, politics, and economy. Enlightenment thinking constituted the ideological background of modernity, while the rise of individualism and the secularization of political power reflected its political dimension. The economic dimension of modernity involved the massive mobility of people into cities and the emergence of a market economy through the commercialization of human labor, along with production for profit. The recent phase of globalization has led to new developments that exposed the contradictions of modernity and forced us to rethink its fundamental assumptions. Two approaches that have attempted to redefine the universality in modern thinking and its relationship with particular cultures are the institutional cosmopolitanism approach and the multiple modernities approach; the latter rejects the universality of Western modernity and instead sees modernity as a distinctly local phenomenon. Future research should focus on how different cultures relate to one another within the boundaries of global modernity, along with the conditions under which local forms of modernity emerge.
Modernity is defined as a condition of social existence that is significantly different to all past forms of human experience, while modernization refers to the transitional process of moving from “traditional” or “primitive” communities to modern societies. Debates over modernity have been most prominent in the discipline of sociology, created in the nineteenth century specifically to come to terms with “society” as a novel form of human existence. These debates revolved around the constitution of the modern subject: how sociopolitical order is formed in the midst of anomie or alienation of the subject; what form of knowledge production this subject engages in, and what form of knowledge production is appropriate to understand modern subjectivity; and the ethical orientation of the modern subject under conditions where human existence has been rationalized and disenchanted. In its paradoxical search for social content of modern conditions of anomie, alienation, and disenchantment, sociology has relied upon Émile Durkheim, Karl Marx, and Max Weber. Sociological inquiry of modernity and the anthropological/comparative study of modernization have provided two articulations of sociopolitical difference—temporal and geocultural, respectively—that have exerted a strong impact upon approaches to and debates within IR. The attempt to correlate and explain the relationship between temporal and geocultural difference presents a foundational challenge to understandings of the condition of modernity and the processes of modernization.
Jonathan M. Acuff
The question of the historical origins of nations and nationalism has long been the subject of vigorous debate among scholars. Indeed, there has been no interdisciplinary convergence among historians, sociologists, and anthropologists regarding the exact timeline of the emergence of nations and nationalism. Much contemporary international relations (IR) and political science scholarship relating to nations is primarily divided between two opposing assumptions: a relatively simplistic “ancient hatreds/modernist” dichotomy versus primordialist and other kinds of claims. This disagreement over the historical origins of nationalism influences both the ontological notions governing the nature of modernity and nations, as well as important epistemological implications as to the selection and interpretation of variables. Modernists argue that nationalism is the product of the specific effects of the modern age, dating roughly to the late Enlightenment or to the French Revolution specifically. They also emphasize the role of the international system in the forging of national identity. Primordialists and ethnosymbolists have advanced their own theories of nationalism, but most contemporary IR scholars favor the “modernist” paradigm. However, it is necessary to evaluate a larger literature beyond the modernist corpus in order to tackle questions such as whether modern nations are more conflict-prone than their more aged ethnic counterparts, or whether structural changes in the international system since the end of the Cold War have opened a window of opportunity for irredentist claims for nascent nations.
Modernization theory studies the process of social evolution and the development of societies. There are two levels of analysis in classical modernization theory: the microcosmic evaluations of modernization, which focuses on the componential elements of social modernization; and the macrocosmic studies of modernization focused on the empirical trajectories and manifest processes of the modernization of nations and their societies, economies, and polities. However, there are two key sources of problems with classical modernization theory. The first is the determinism implied in the logic of modernization, while the second relates to the specific development patterns that modernization theory must contend with. A contemporary theory on modernization relates structural change at a higher level of analysis to instrumental action at a lower level of analysis, doing so within a stochastic framework rather than the deterministic one that classical modernization theory implied. In addition, the refocused attention of social scientists on the process of development has led to a renewed interest in the characterization of the relationship between economic development and democratization. The transformation of knowledge into economic development can be examined by looking at the weightless economy—a collection of “weightless” knowledge products such as software, the Internet, and electronic databases. It is closely connected to a weightless political concept called the credible polity, which is a government that creates institutions that credibly protect property rights and are also transparent in their functioning to all members of its society.
Robert English, Ekaterina Svyatets, and Azamat Zhanalin
Nationalism contributed to the disintegration of the Soviet Union and helped put an end to the epoch-defining East–West rivalry, while ethnic conflict rearranged borders and peoples across the post-communist regions. After these initial shocks, however, most international relations (IR) scholars saw a region that was generally on a path toward political stabilization and international integration. This belief was reflected in the predominance of research on democratization and civil society, privatization and economic transition, and integration with the European Union. Nearly two decades after the collapse of communism, a simmering ethnic conflict in Georgia has sparked another major geopolitical shift. Nationalism remains a potent force not only in the post-Soviet and post-communist regions, but also for IR more generally, in the “normal” politics of parties and elections, development and trade, foreign policy making, and even war making. Regarding the politics of eastern Europe and central Eurasia, at least three distinct international dimensions of post-communist nationalism can be identified: the immediate impact of national or ethnic conflict on state-to-state relations as well as conflict spillover; nationalism’s impact on the foreign policies of states, the ways in which domestic ethnic issues can shape foreign policy debates and decisions; and the transnational spread of nationalist ideology. Present circumstances offer an opportunity not only to end the animosity and even reverse the hardening of antagonistic post-Cold War identities, but also to assess the respective impact of cultural–historical, economic, and leadership factors on the ongoing development of national identity and nationalism.
Norrin M. Ripsman
Neoclassical realism is an approach to foreign policy analysis that seeks to understand international politics by taking into account the nature of the international system—the political environment within which states interact. Taking neorealism as their point of departure, neoclassical realists argue that states respond in large part to the constraints and opportunities of the international system when they conduct their foreign and security policies, but that their responses are shaped by unit-level factors such as state–society relations, the nature of their domestic political regimes, strategic culture, and leader perceptions. Neoclassical realists have identified a number of important limitations to the neorealist model—for example, states do not always perceive systemic stimuli correctly, or the international system does not always present clear signals about threats and opportunities. Adherents of neoclassical realism insist that their approach represents a significant improvement on existing approaches to international relations and foreign policy, including “Innenpolitik” approaches. Nevertheless, neoclassical realism faces a host of criticisms, such as the claim that it is comparatively inefficient and that it is impossible to separate international and domestic variables. To overcome these challenges, neoclassical realists need to consider a few key avenues for future research, such as generating well-specified neoclassical realist theories of foreign policy and devoting more attention to the domestic politics of international cooperation in order to shed the “competition bias” of neoclassical realism.
Neoliberalism refers to a set of market-based ideas and policies ranging from government budget cuts and privatization of state enterprises to liberalization of currency controls, higher interest rates and deregulation of local finance, removal of import barriers (trade tariffs and quotas), and an emphasis on promotion of exports. While the effects of these policies have been quite consistent, they have sparked sharp criticism from the left. Critics pointed out the elites’ consistent failure in areas such as development aid, international financial regulation, Bretton Woods reform, the World Trade Organization’s Doha Agenda, and United Nations Security Council democratization. In the wake of the financial crisis of 2007–2008, the G20 held a summit in 2009 to discuss policy issues pertaining to the promotion of international financial stability. G20 leaders vowed to, among other promises, strengthen the longer term relevance, effectiveness and legitimacy of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and to seek agreement on a post–2012 climate change regime. However, many intellectual critics of neoliberalism insisted that the G20 represented nothing new. Instead, they emphasize several urgent political priorities, such as: immediately recall and reorganize campaigning associated with defense against financial degradation; reconsider national state powers including exchange controls, defaults on unrepayble debts, financial nationalization and environmental reregulation, and the deglobalization/decommodification strategy for basic needs goods; and address the climate crisis by rejecting neoliberal strategies in favor of both consumption shifts and supply-side solutions.
A network may refer to “a group of interdependent actors and the relationships among them,” or to a set of nodes linked by a web of interdependencies. The concept of networks has its origins in earlier philosophical and sociological ideas such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s “general will” and Émile Durkheim’s “social facts”, which adressed social and political communities and how decisions are mediated and ideas are structured within them. Networks encompass a wide range of theoretical interpretations and critical applications across different disciplines, including governance networks, policy networks, public administration networks, social movement networks, intergovernmental networks, social networks, trade networks, computer networks, information networks, and neural networks. Governance networks have been proposed as alternative pluricentric governance models representing a new form of negotiated governance based on interdependence, negotiation and trust. Such networks differ from the competitive market regulation and state hierarchical control in three aspects: the relationship between the actors, decision-making processes, and compliance. The decision-making processes within governance networks are founded on a reflexive rationality rather than the “procedural rationality” which characterizes the competitive market regulation and the “substantial rationality” which underpins authoritative state regulation. Network theory has proved especially useful for scholars in positing the existence of loosely defined and informal webs of experts or advocates that can have a real and substantial influence on international relations discourse and policy. Two examples of the use of network theory in action are transnational advocacy networks and epistemic communities.
Matthew J. Hoffmann
Social norms were conceptualized as aspects of social structure that emerged from the actions and beliefs of actors in specific communities; norms shaped those actions and beliefs by constituting actors’ identities and interests. Early constructivist work in the 1980s and early 1990s sought to establish a countervailing approach to the material and rational theories that dominated the study of international relations. Empirically oriented constructivists worked to show that shared ideas about appropriate state behavior had a significant impact on the nature and functioning of world politics. Initial constructivist studies of social norms can be divided into three areas: normative, socialization, and normative emergence. After making the case that norms matter and developing a number of theoretical frameworks to show how norms emerge, spread, and influence behavior, norms-oriented constructivists have shifted their attention to a new set of questions, and in particular compliance with the strictures of social norms and change in norms themselves. Ideas about whether actors reason about norms or through norms can be linked to behavioral logics, which provide conceptions of how actors and norms are linked. Two types of normative dynamics can be identified: the first is endogenous contestation; the second is compliance or diffusion. In order to better understand compliance with and contestation over norms either in isolation or together, it is necessary to pay more attention to the prior understanding of who is in the community. Another topic that requires further consideration in future research is the relationship between intersubjective and subjective reality.
Jacques E.C. Hymans
Nuclear proliferation became an increasingly major concern after France and then China joined the nuclear “club” in the 1960s. However, it was not until India’s “peaceful nuclear explosive” test of 1974 that a real sense of potential worldwide crisis emerged, which also spawned a substantial amount of serious writing on the issue. The basic puzzle facing the study of nuclear proliferation is why there is a considerable and persistent disparity between the number of nuclear weapons-capable states and the number of actual nuclear weapons states. Three early works that represented crucial conceptual breakthroughs in the struggle toward a proper descriptive inference of the dynamics of proliferation are William Epstein’s The Last Chance (1976), Stephen M. Meyer’s The Dynamics of Nuclear Proliferation (1984), and Opaque Nuclear Proliferation (1991), edited by Benjamin Frankel. More contemporary political science work features attempts by each of the major international relations paradigms to tackle the proliferation puzzle: realism, psychological constructivism, neoliberal institutionalism, liberalism, and sociological constructivism. While scholars disagree over a host of issues, a consensus on the dynamics of nuclear proliferation may be discerned. In particular, there are five points on which most recent works converge: that proliferation has been historically rare; that we cannot take the demand for nuclear weapons for granted; that domestic politics and identity considerations play a crucial role in shaping proliferation choices; and that theory-guided, in-depth comparative case studies are the most appropriate means of advancing the state of our knowledge at this point in time.
Kelly M. Kadera and Dina Zinnes
The International Studies Association (ISA) was founded in 1959, but the Scientific Study of International Politics (SSIP) only became one of its sections in 1993. SSIP researchers initially believed that subject oriented committees were unparalleled. They argued that combining traditional and quantitative research on a single committee with a common subject focus would encourage cross-examination and provide a greater understanding of the problem—but this was not the case. Nowadays, the SSIP is dedicated to the pursuit of international studies using formal or empirical data. Following the methods of scientific inquiry, the section aims to support and promote replicable research in terms of the clarity of a theory and/or the testing of hypotheses. The SSIP is committed to bringing together researchers who, at all levels of analysis and with respect to the entire range of international political questions, pursue these issues using formally stated arguments and/or systematically collected and analyzed empirical data. Furthermore, the SSIP fully cooperates with any existing organization that has similar goals, both within and outside the ISA. The significance of international studies manifests through degrees and courses that engage students and researchers with the increasing number of issues and phenomena which have arisen in the current globalized world. As such, most education providers justify the need for the degrees by relating the increasing importance of the discipline with real-world situations and employment opportunities.
The scientific study of international processes (SSIP) has made substantial progress over the past twenty years, establishing itself as the mainstream research community in the field of international relations (IR) and attracting more and more attention from other disciplines. This was due to the convergence of several revolutions that have taken place in the field, including the data revolution, the formal modeling revolution, the methods revolution, the substantive revolution, and the epistemological revolution. In addition to the dramatic increase in the number of the community of scholars who use scientific logic, systematic methods, and empirical data to study IR, there was a significant improvement in the quality of research. This research has yielded important contributions to our understanding of international processes. Some of these contributions went far beyond the field; they have attracted the attention of policy makers as well as quite a few scholars from other disciplines. Some of the key findings that emerged from this research have become—correctly or incorrectly—a key component of the discourse of political leaders. Growing data availability, increased methodological sophistication, and greater scientific discipline within the profession have converged to open new research frontiers, but important challenges remain, such as the disconnect between theory and empirical tests that exists in many cases, and the almost exclusive reliance on the dyadic level of analysis. It is important to make our understanding of international processes translated into broader policy implications.
In his 1966 essay, “The Grotian Conception of International Society,” Hedley Bull distinguishes between two conceptions of international society: pluralism and solidarism. The central assumption of solidarism is “the solidarity, or potential solidarity, of the states comprising international society, with respect to the enforcement of the law.” In contrast, pluralism claims that “states do not exhibit solidarity of this kind, but are capable of agreeing only for certain minimum purposes which fall short of that of the enforcement of the law.” Bull’s formulation of pluralism and solidarism, and the way he set the two concepts against one another, exerted a profound influence on subsequent English School scholarship and sparked the pluralist–solidarist debate. This debate revolves around theorizing different kinds of order, in particular international and world order. The English School used the language of “pluralism” and “solidarism” to address the legitimacy of humanitarian intervention. After the issue of humanitarian intervention was pushed down the list of scholarly priorities, pluralism and solidarism sparked renewed interest from scholars such as Barry Buzan, Andrew Linklater and Hidemi Suganami, William Bain, and Andrew Hurrell. Despite the debates triggered by the pluralist–solidarist debate, the vocabulary of pluralism and solidarism is a promising means of tackling questions and issues that are undertheorized or largely neglected in English School theory, including those relating to the place of sub- and supranational entities in international society, the meaning and scope of world order, and the significance of international political economy in theorizing different kinds of order.
Tadeusz Kugler and Jacek Kugler
Political demography is a disciplinary field devoted to the study of population size, composition, and distribution in relation to both government and politics. The focus is on the political consequences of population change, especially the effects of population change on the demands made upon governments, on the performance of governments, on the distribution of political power within states, and on the distribution of national power among states. Political demography is concerned not only with the facts and figures of population—that is, fertility, mortality, and migration rates—but also with the knowledge and attitudes that people and their governments have toward population issues. Unfortunately, these issues have not generated adequate interest among both demographers and political scientists, not to mention economists and researchers in general. This is because political demography lies uncomfortably at the boundary between demography and political science. Political demography deserves serious and thoughtful scholarly attention because many, if not most, of the central policy concerns can be approached directly from the population perspective, including the key dimensions of population dynamics such as politics of size, fertility rates, life expectancy and the outcomes of success, race, war, migration and migration impact on the size and structure of populations, and population density. These core population characteristics can be related to many other attributes ranging from urbanization and mortality to gender, religion, education, productivity, health, and conflict. These characteristics are, in turn, essential for the analysis of themes like elections, social security, economic convergence, political development, and environmental degradation.
Some of the main genealogies within postcolonial scholarship are discussed, with a focus on key thinkers, such as Edward Said, Homi Bhabha, Gayatri Spivak, Aníbal Quijano, and Walter Mignolo. Key concepts, such as colonial discourse theory, development, and subaltern studies are presented. The discussion of postcolonial thought is embedded in a reflection on its relation to other theoretical paradigms and social theories (e.g., poststructuralism, world-system theory, Marxism). This focus seeks to highlight some of the main contours of the field, while also pointing out the ways postcolonialism has shaped the discipline of international relations (IR).
Yale H. Ferguson and Richard W. Mansbach
Postinternational theory in international relations (IR) theory offers an alternative to the state-centric perspectives on the world that have dominated IR theory. A state-centric approach is far too restrictive. Despite the resurgence of populist nationalism, contemporary scholars are much more aware than in the past of the enormous variety of states, the important distinction between state and nation, the fact that states, even at the policy-making level, are not unitary actors, and the recurring possibility that violence will be intrastate or trans-state rather than interstate. It is apparent, too, that the stage of global politics is crowded by countless actors of different types, whose complex interactions substantially determine the intermediate and longer-range scenes in particular dramas. Moreover, the flow of events significantly reflects not only such ideational factors as competing identities, ideologies, and mental spaces, but also the pace and volume of globalization in its multiple dimensions and related localization dynamics that include resistance to globalization. Postinternational theory embodies the foregoing worldview. It shares some areas of agreement with leading schools of IR theory, but provides a much better foundation for future theory building as well as a policy-relevant way of thinking about the world and analyzing global political issues.
Poststructural/postmodern IR is a mode of critical thinking and analysis that joined disciplinary conversations during the 1980s and, despite the dismissive reception it has initially faced, it is a vibrant and expanding area of research within the field today. Providing a radical critique of politics in modernity, it is less a new paradigm or theory. Instead, it is better described as “a critical attitude” that focuses on the question of representation and explores the ways in which dominant framings of world politics produce and reproduce relations of power: how they legitimate certain forms of action while marginalizing other ways of being, thinking, and acting. To elaborate the insights of poststructuralism/postmodernism, the article starts off by situating the emergence of these critical perspectives within the disciplinary context and visits the debates and controversies it has elicited. This discussion is followed by an elaboration of the major themes and concepts of poststructural/postmodern thought such as subjectivity, language, text, and power. The convergences and divergences between poststructuralism and its precursor—structuralism—is an underlying theme that is noted in this article. The third and fourth sections make central the epistemological and ontological challenges that poststructuralism/postmodernism poses to disciplinary knowledge production on world politics. While the former focuses on how central categories of IR such as state and sovereignty, violence, and war were problematized and reconceptualized, the latter attends to the poststructuralist/postmodern attempts to articulate a different political imaginary and develop an alternative conceptual language to think the international beyond the confines of the paradigm of sovereignty and the modern subject. The article concludes with a brief look at the future directions for poststructural/postmodern investigations.