William Bain

in Between Anarchy and Society

Published in print August 2003 | ISBN: 9780199260263
Published online April 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191600975 | DOI:

Show Summary Details


Begins by giving an outline of the idea of trusteeship as presented by P. H. Kerr, and then as viewed against a background of the opposite idea—that of liberty, as considered by J. S. Mill. It states the purpose of the book is to interrogate the character of trusteeship as an idea of international society, to investigate the assumptions, claims, and justifications that render it intelligible as a recognized and settled mode of human conduct in international life. It contends that the character of trusteeship is discernible in full relief at the intersection of two dispositions of human conduct: the good of assisting persons in need, and the good of respecting human autonomy. The first part of the chapter is a general discussion of the idea of trusteeship in contemporary international society, and it ends by commenting that, since the 11 September attacks, there is very little about the Bush administration's claims that would be out of place in the age of empire—an age in which trusteeship was the most obvious outward manifestation of a similarly righteous mission to propagate the virtue of civilization and to eradicate its enemies. The remaining three sections of the chapter discuss the idiom of Oakeshottian conversation in which the book is written, the international society/English School theoretical tradition in which the book is situated, and the character of trusteeship, which is intelligible in a particular relation of virtue, inequality, and tutelage.

Keywords: anarchy; assistance; autonomy; barbarian; Bush administration; civilization; contemporary international society; conversation; empire; Enlightenment; human conduct; inequality; international society; P. H. Kerr; liberty; Michael Oakeshott; J. S. Mil; lnon‐interference; obligation; society; sovereign equality; territorial integrity; trusteeship; tutelage; virtue; World Trade Centre twin towers

Chapter.  12819 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.