This chapter focuses on Arabism and other regional ethnicities as sources of political identity. It emphasizes the importance of regional identities within the Middle East, which have been accentuated because of the poor fit between identity and states and regimes and this remains pertinent today. The chapter also argues that the persistence of conflict in the Middle East must be understood through the incongruence of identity and material structures. The chapter highlights pan-Arabism and the irredentist and separatist movements that have characterized the history and political development of the Middle East. It shows how the interaction of identity with state formation and development has contributed to numerous wars and to the evolution of regional developments following the Arab Spring.
6. The Politics of Identity in Middle East International Relations
10. Identity, equality, and power
This chapter turns to issues relating to political power and society. The goal of a contemporary democracy is to allow people to be both equal and different. The UK is a diverse society and people in the UK differ in many ways by their gender, sexuality, abilities, ethnicity, religious beliefs, age, and many other aspects. The importance of various ‘identities’ has recently been recognised in UK politics and they now co-exist alongside more traditional ways of classifying people which tend to lie along socio-economic lines. The chapter then looks at the effectiveness of scrutiny measures to protect people from unequal treatment in the political or legal sphere on the basis of their identity.
16. Societal Security
This chapter explores the concept of societal security. It starts by looking at how society came to be conceived as a referent object of security in its own right. It then goes on to discuss the so-called Copenhagen School’s understanding of both society and societal identity, showing how societal security is tied most of all to the maintenance of ethno-national identities. In looking at threats to societal security, through examples, such as the former Yugoslavia and Northern Ireland, the chapter discusses a number of those means that can prevent or hinder the reproduction of collective identity, and, in turn, how societies may react to such perceived threats. The chapter concludes by considering some of the main critiques of the concept as an analytical tool.
5. New Waves of Theorizing in Global Politics
This chapter evaluates new modes of theorizing in global politics. These are based on long-standing concerns in social and political theory and all of them involve identity politics in one way or another—a form of politics in which an individual’s membership of a group, based on certain distinctive characteristics such as race, ethnicity, religion, gender, and sexuality, acquires significant political salience and is implicated in hierarchies of power. It follows that identity itself involves issues of both who an individual is, and who that individual is not. This involves not just self-identification or self-definition, but is also mediated by the perceptions of others. In some cases there are connections with social movements concerned with issues of justice and equality in both domestic and global spheres. In almost all cases the specific issues of concern, and their theorization, have come relatively late to the agenda of global politics and so may be said to constitute a ‘new wave’ of theorizing in the discipline. The chapter looks at feminism, gender theory, racism, cultural theory, colonialism, and postcolonial theory.
11. Social Movements and Alternative Politics
This chapter examines how social movements in the developing world and ‘bottom-up’ alternative politics, supported by new technology and globalized networks, can strengthen democracy. It first traces the origins of social movements, showing how different forms of social movements have emerged and been influential during different periods, before discussing the main theoretical perspectives about why this is so and how we should understand this phenomenon. It then considers past and present social movements and alternative politics in the developing world, focusing on three categories: movements concerned with democracy and governance, movements concerned with identity politics, and movements concerned with social justice. It also describes the increasing globalization of social movements and explains what makes such movements successful.
Introduction: The Middle East and International Relations
This introductory chapter provides an overview of the study of international relations in the Middle East. The two disciplines of international relations and Middle East studies are highly interdependent. No book on the contemporary politics of the Middle East can possibly ignore the way in which external forces have shaped the development of the region's politics, economics, and societies. Similarly, no international relations text can ignore the rich cases that the Middle East has supplied, and how they illuminate different theories and concepts of the discipline, whether in respect of patterns of war and peace, identity politics, or international political economy. The chapter then looks at some of the particular problems that arise in studying the international relations of the Middle East.
2. Politics and the State
This chapter explains why the state and sovereignty are relevant to the study of politics. It first provides an empirical typology of the state, ranging from the minimalist night-watchman state, approximated to by nineteenth-century capitalist regimes at one end of the spectrum, to the totalitarian state of the twentieth century at the other. It then examines the distribution of power in the state by focusing on three major theories of the state: pluralism, elitism, Marxism, as well as New Right theory. The chapter seeks to demonstrate that the theories of the state identified can also be critiqued normatively, so that pluralism, for instance, can be challenged for its divisive character, as exemplified by identity politics. It then goes on to review different views about what the role of the state ought to be, from the minimalist state recommended by adherents of classical liberalism, to the pursuit of distinctive social objectives as recommended, in particular, by proponents of communitarianism. Finally, it discusses empirical and normative challenges to the state and asks whether the state’s days are numbered.
Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Natasha Lindstaedt, and Erica Frantz
This chapter examines the core assumptions of poststructuralism, one of the International Relations (IR) perspectives furthest away from the realist and liberal mainstream. It explores whether language matters for international relations, whether all states have the same identity, and whether the state is the most important actor in world politics today. The chapter also considers poststructuralist views about the social world, state sovereignty, and identity and foreign policy. Finally, it discusses poststructuralism as a political philosophy. Two case studies are presented, one dealing with discourses on the Ebola outbreak in 2014 and the other relating to Russian discourse on Crimea. There is also an Opposing Opinions box that asks whether poststructuralism provides a good account of the role that materiality and power play in world politics.
15. Citizens and Public Opinion in the European Union
Simona Guerra and Hans-Jörg Trenz
This chapter provides an overview of trends in public opinion towards the European Union (EU). The chapter also discusses the key factors thought to explain differences in mass opinion regarding the EU. These include political economy and rationality; that is, opinions stemming from calculations about the costs and benefits of the EU; perceptions of the national government (domestic proxies); the influence of political elites; political psychology, including cognitive mobilization (attentiveness to politics) and concerns about the loss of national identity; and, finally, the role of the mass media in driving opinions regarding the EU.
24. Identity Politics and Clashing Cultures
Tom Kirk, Tim Allen, and John Eade
This chapter explores the rise of identity-based explanations for domestic politics and international conflicts in the 1990s, before turning to the War on Terror and its affects. An influential view of the current global situation is that there is a clash of civilizations or cultures, especially between Islam and the West. This idea has been reinforced by terrorist atrocities in the United States and elsewhere, and by the so-called War on Terror. Conceptualizing cultures as in conflict has origins in older ideas about nationalism and ethnicity, which have had a tendency to absorb or euphemize racist attitudes to outsiders. Several well-known scholars have been scathing about the clash of civilizations thesis, but there is no doubt that the argument has profoundly affected national and international agendas, and helps explain the rise of morally populist, nationalistic, and isolationist policies in many countries. The clash of civilizations also relates more specifically to concerns in the US about its position in the world, and its declining capacity to shape global agendas.
This chapter examines the core assumptions of poststructuralism, one of the international relations (IR) perspectives furthest away from the realist and liberal mainstream. It explores whether language matters for international relations, whether all states have the same identity, and whether the state is the most important actor in world politics today. The chapter also considers poststructuralist views about the social world, state sovereignty, and identity and foreign policy. Finally, it discusses poststructuralism as a political philosophy. Two case studies follow. The first one looking at discourses, images, and the victory of the Taliban regime. The second case studies examines Covid-19, state sovereignty, and vaccines.
12. Litmus Tests for European Integration Theories
Explaining Crises and Travelling beyond Europe
Tanja A. Börzel and Thomas Risse
This chapter deals with two litmus tests for theories of European integration. The first part asks, how and to what extent various approaches can explain the contemporary crises of European integration. It thereby tackles the question of whether European integration theories might have biased EU scholars towards ignoring evidence for (dis-)integration. While being more optimistic about the state of the Union than many EU scholars are, the authors of this chapter argue for a more differentiated conceptualization of integration as a continuous variable that takes disintegration, rather than stagnation or no integration, as the opposite value of integration. The second part of the chapter examines to what extent European integration theories are able to shed light on experiences with regionalism across the globe. It argues that they do provide plausible accounts for the emergence of regionalism around the world. Comparing regions points to important scope conditions under which European integration theories operate. When it comes to outcomes, however, they need to be complemented by explanations emphasizing diffusion to clarify why and when states are more inclined to pool and delegate sovereignty in some regions than in others.
8. Discourse and European Integration
This chapter examines discourse analysis as an approach to the study of European integration. It first provides an overview of the basic principles underlying discourse studies before tracing its philosophical roots. It then considers when and how discourse studies entered political science, international relations, and European integration studies. It explores three examples of bodies of work that have each operationalized discourse (analysis) in a particular way in order to make it speak to European integration: the first covers governance and political struggle; the second approach posits the discursive configuration of concepts of nation, state, and Europe as layered structures able to explain foreign policy options for a given state; and the third focuses on the project of European integration as a productive paradox. The chapter concludes with a case study on the mediatization and politicization of the refugee crisis in Austria from 2015-2016 by discussing the application of discourse analysis to the nature of the European Union enlargement process.
12. Religion, politics, and fundamentalism
This chapter examines the nature of religion and fundamentalism and their relationship to politics. It first defines religion before discussing the nature and extent of religiosity worldwide. It then considers whether religion can be regarded as an ideology and goes on to assess its relationship with secular ideologies. It also explores arguments about the role of religion in politics, focusing on the secular state and ‘religious talk’ in the political sphere. Finally, it reviews the concept of fundamentalism as a form of political belief, the nature of religious fundamentalism, and the impact of movements based on religious fundamentalism in the modern world. These issues are illustrated with case studies relating to Christian (Protestant) fundamentalism, religious identity in the United Kingdom, the relationship between politics and religion in the United Kingdom vs. the United States, whether the faithful have a religious duty to get involved in politics, and Islamism.
7. The Politics of Identity in Middle East International Relations
This chapter offers critical reviews of the explanatory power of identity and culture in understanding international relations in the Middle East. It focuses on Arabism and other regional ethnicities as sources of political identity. The importance of these identities within the region has been accentuated because of the poor fit between identity and states and regimes — a colonial legacy, but one that remains pertinent today, as revealed in the Arab uprisings. Indeed, the persistence of conflict in the Middle East must be understood through this ‘incongruence of identity and material structures’. Focusing on pan-Arabism, as well as the irredentist and separatist movements that have characterized the history and political development of the region, the chapter shows how the interaction of identity with state formation and development has contributed to numerous wars, and most recently to the evolution of regional developments following the Arab Spring.
This chapter explores power within global politics by challenging the myth that power is a coercive force that elite actors utilise to promote their interests. It also expounds on Steven Lukes’ ‘three faces of power’ debate to clarify how power works at both obvious and hidden levels. The chapter then introduces the concept of power relations and how they influence the political world and people’s opinions and values. It also discusses how power produces knowledge, social norms, and identities. Finally, the chapter uncovers some of the subtle ways power influences the everyday lives of people, and how an awareness of power relations raises the possibility of resistance and change in global politics.
7. Social Constructivism
This chapter examines the social constructivist theory of IR. It first discusses the rise of social constructivism and why it has established itself as an important approach in IR. It then considers constructivism as social theory, and more specifically as both a meta-theory about the nature of the social world and as a set of substantial theories of IR. Several examples of constructivist IR theory are presented, followed by reflections on the strengths and weaknesses of the constructivist approach. The chapter proceeds by exploring constructivist theories of international relations, focusing on cultures of anarchy, norms of International Society, the power of international organizations, a constructivist approach to European cooperation, and domestic formation of identity and norms. The chapter concludes with an analysis of some of the major criticisms of constructivism and by emphasizing internal debates within constructivism.