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Publisher Description

At first glance, international relations seem to be mostly about the interactions between and among states. While this proposition does seem to carry significant weight, it glosses over other interfaces that take place in the international arena, such as transnational activities that involve actors other than states (e.g., non-governmental organizations and multinational corporations). More problematically, it obscures the asymmetric character of the actors that prompt such interactions. To be sure, scholars have already addressed the issue of the inequality of states and the types of international rule that result from such uneven relations. Muthiah Alagappa proposes a typology with anarchy and world government at opposite ends of the spectrum; in between lie what he calls the instrumental, normative-contractual and solidarist orders. (1) Barry Buzan posits the idea of superpower overlay in the context of regional security complexes to describe how the presence of external Great Powers conditions, and to a certain extent hampers, local security dynamics. (2) Employing the English School, Adam Watson uses the image of a pendulum to describe how international society "swings" between centralization and independence, or how it "tightens" or "loosens" over time. (3) Similarly, Ole Waever examines international relations as concentric circles consisting of--from the innermost to the outermost circle --direct rule, dominion, hegemony, and independent states and other imperial structures. (4) This being the case, the subject of international orders still raises several questions. First, from where do these types of rule come? Constructivists suggest that they arise from the language games-rules logic of Nicholas Onuf. (5) This "paradigm of rule" is founded on the intersubjectivity of social relations, which is to say that actors, by virtue of their language (understood here as both verbal and textual), construct the rules of their interactions that through time and practice become "institutionalized" as a type of rule or international order. In Onuf's analysis, these "institutionalized" orders may take the form of hegemony or hierarchy.

Politics & Current Events
August 1
Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS)
The Gale Group, Inc., a Delaware corporation and an affiliate of Cengage Learning, Inc.

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