Order and Disorder in World Politics

Roland Bleiker

in International Society and its Critics

Published in print August 2004 | ISBN: 9780199265206
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191601866 | DOI:
Order and Disorder in World Politics

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In this final chapter of Part Two, the author addresses arguably the central stumbling block for those who would enlarge international society to incorporate elements of world society, alternative levels of analysis, and subject matters: namely, the problem of order. He argues that a concern with order, in its methodological, theoretical, and empirical guises, is the principal feature of the understanding of international society by the English School of International Relations. While order may endorse methodological pluralism, the author argues that the approach does not embrace it and has powerful canons that structure its work, one being the requirement that to count as valid knowledge about international society, a piece of work must begin by referring to the established fathers of the tradition. This preoccupation with order carries over into the empirical and theoretical work conducted by those associated with the School, and the author attempts to critique this by challenging the assumption, central to English School theorizing since Henry Bull, that a degree of order is necessary for the achievement of social goods. Instead, he argues that an over‐preoccupation with order can serve the cause of oppression, and therefore insists that progressive change tends to come about through periods of disorder.

Keywords: achievement of social goods; disorder; English School of International Relations; international relations; international society; oppression; order; over‐preoccupation with order; pluralism; progressive change; tradition; world society

Chapter.  7560 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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