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Chapter

Cover Security Studies: Critical Perspectives

2. Security  

This chapter addresses the question of ‘what security is’. It begins by exploring the history of security as a concept and practice emerging out of the long nineteenth century. The chapter shows security's inherent ties to colonialism and imperialism. It then suggests that security can be seen as an achievable threshold/goal whose progress can be measured, or as an ongoing process that is never complete. Either way, security is a form of political mobilization that acts upon our worlds through the prism of threats and risks, creating conditions of possibility and impossibility. The chapter concludes that the ubiquity of security demands that we ask how it defines our relations with others and with ourselves in shaping socio-political orders. To ask ‘what is security?’ is ultimately to answer the question, ‘what does security do?’.

Chapter

Cover Contemporary Security Studies

9. Postcolonialism  

Mark Laffey and Suthaharan Nadarajah

This chapter introduces postcolonialism as a set of increasingly influential positions and perspectives within the wider discipline of International Relations and sketches its implications for security studies. It begins with postcolonialism’s genealogies, tracing its emergence in a set of transnational debates about the mutually constitutive relations between knowledge and imperialism. The chapter then lays out the standard account of world history as organized around Westphalian sovereignty which informs security studies and shows how postcolonialism puts it in question, forcing the international to be reconceived as the context within which security is defined, practised, and studied. Third, the chapter puts postcolonialism to work and discusses what it might mean to decolonize security studies. In a short conclusion, it returns to the question of the tense relations between security studies and postcolonialism itself.

Chapter

Cover Human Rights

Imperialism and Human Rights  

Bonny Ibhawoh

This chapter discusses the correlation between human rights and imperialism. It cites how imperialism is central to the development of human rights ideology by referencing the collapse of the empire following World War II and the rise of the international human rights movement. The human rights language boosted the justification and legitimization of imperialism. The chapter also highlights the impact of imperialism on the rights and liberties of colonized people, which also led to the strategic social reforms, anti-colonial activism, and colonized people's struggles for independence in the human rights movement. The collapse of empires shaped the development of human rights, while decolonisation influenced international human rights.

Chapter

Cover The Globalization of World Politics

18. Race in world politics  

Robbie Shilliam

This chapter examines the ways in which race can been understood as a fundamental ordering principle of world politics. It explores how the histories of European imperialism and colonialism are crucial for understanding the global impact of race, and whether contemporary world politics is less racist than it was in the past. It also considers the relationship between race, biology, and culture. The chapter concludes by discussing the historical processes that gave rise to race, some key debates around the conceptualization of race, and how race continues to order world politics. Two case studies are presented: the first is about race, caste, and Dalits in India; the second looks into the world of ecofascism.

Chapter

Cover The Globalization of World Politics

3. The rise of modern international order  

George Lawson

This chapter examines the rise of modern international order. It begins with a discussion of international orders before the modern period, focusing on how trade and transport helped to link diverse parts of the world. It then considers debates about the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, along with nineteenth-century developments such as industrialization and imperialism. It also explores the main ideas that underpinned modern international order, the ‘shrinking of the planet’ that arose from the advent of new technologies, the emergence of intergovernmental organizations and international non-governmental organizations, and the advent of a radically unequal international order. The chapter concludes with case studies on the dual character of international law and imperialism in China.

Chapter

Cover International Relations Theories

7. Marxism  

Mark Rupert

This chapter examines Marxist theory’s understanding of capitalism as an historically particular way of organizing social life and how Marxism can shed light on complex social relationships through which human beings produce and reproduce their social relations, the natural world, and themselves. It argues that the kind of social organization envisioned by Marxists has political, cultural, and economic dimensions that must be viewed as a dynamic ensemble of social relations not necessarily contained within the territorial boundaries of nation-states. The chapter first provides an overview of historical materialism and the meaning of dialectical theory, with particular emphasis on Karl Marx’s critique of capitalism and the Marxist tradition’s theorizing of imperialism, before discussing Western Marxism and Antonio Gramsci’s theory of hegemony. It then considers Marxist concepts of global power and hegemony and concludes with a case study that highlights the social relations underlying US global militarism.

Chapter

Cover Introduction to Politics

16. Introducing Global Politics  

Stephanie Lawson

This chapter discusses global politics in relation to the phenomenon of globalization. ‘Global politics’ as a field of study encompasses the traditional concerns of International Relations with how states interact under conditions of anarchy, but lays greater emphasis on the role of non-state actors and processes in a globalizing world. The chapter first provides an overview of politics in a globalizing world before explaining the basic distinctions between ‘state’ and ‘nation’ in the context of contemporary global politics. It then considers the variation in state forms and the phenomenon of empire throughout history as well as the historical emergence of the modern state and state system in Europe along with ideas about sovereignty and nationalism against the background of ‘modernity’. It also examines the effective globalization of the European state system through modern imperialism and colonialism and the extent to which these have been productive of contemporary global order.

Chapter

Cover The Globalization of World Politics

6. Liberal internationalism  

Tim Dunne

This chapter examines the core assumptions of liberalism regarding world politics. It explores why liberals believe in progress, what explains the ascendancy of liberal ideas in world politics since 1945, and whether liberal solutions to global problems are hard to achieve and difficult to sustain. The chapter also considers central ideas in liberal thinking on international relations, including internationalism, idealism, and institutionalism. It concludes with an assessment of the challenges confronting liberalism. Two case studies are presented: one dealing with imperialism and internationalism in nineteenth-century Britain, and the other with the 1990–1991 Gulf War and its implications for collective security. There is also an Opposing Opinions box that asks whether liberal internationalist governments have a responsibility to protect other people from atrocity crimes.

Chapter

Cover Global Politics

8. Empire  

This chapter contests the myth that imperialism has ended by showing how imperial attitudes, racialised power hierarchies, and material inequalities that structured the era of empires remain in place today. It discusses why the field of International Relations conventionally sidelined the issues of imperialism and racism. Dismantling structural racism and imperialism requires long-term work on many fronts. Campaigns combining Postcolonial and Decolonial theories like ‘Rhodes Must Fall’ and ‘Why is My Curriculum White?’ have resulted in new publications and toolkits that decolonise the university. The chapter also recognises the need to review programmes, modules, and reading lists to include perspectives from outside the West, as colonialism and imperialism are at work in core disciplinary concepts and theories.

Chapter

Cover International Relations Since 1945

3. Empire, Cold War, and Decolonization, 1945–53  

This chapter examines decolonization and the changes that took place within the European empires during the early years of the Cold War. Decolonization constituted a crucial element of the new international order after the Second World War and formed part of the broader shift in the global balance of power. The war marked the end of the European-dominated system of nation states and was followed by the decline of the major European powers, with international dominance lying for a quarter of a century with the United States, challenged only by the Soviet Union. The chapter considers the challenges to colonial rule that were evident in both Africa and Asia during the inter-war years. It also discusses the imperialism and the struggles against it that have formed part of a post-war landscape in the Middle East.

Chapter

Cover Introduction to Politics

16. Introducing Global Politics  

Stephanie Lawson

This chapter discusses global politics in relation to the phenomenon of globalization. ‘Global politics’ as a field of study encompasses the traditional concerns of International Relations with how states interact under conditions of anarchy but lays greater emphasis on the role of non-state actors and processes in a globalizing world. The chapter first provides an overview of politics in a globalizing world before explaining the basic distinctions between ‘state’ and ‘nation’ in the context of contemporary global politics. It then considers the variation in state forms and the phenomenon of empire throughout history as well as the historical emergence of the modern state and state system in Europe along with ideas about sovereignty and nationalism against the background of ‘modernity’. It also examines the effective globalization of the European state system through modern imperialism and colonialism and the extent to which these have been productive of contemporary global order.

Book

Cover Human Rights
Human Rights: Theory and Practice provides in-depth theoretical content and features coverage of human rights issues in practice, with a wide range of case studies showing true-to-life examples from around the world. This fourth edition brings the text up to date with new readings centred on recent and relevant issues. It is an interdisciplinary examination of human rights, rather than strictly political science-centric. The first part of the book looks at theory and includes chapters on the philosophical foundations of human rights, international law, politics, and feminist approaches to human rights. There are also chapters that cover imperialism, social life, and performative practice. The second part looks at practice. Here chapters cover genocide, humanitarian intervention, transitional justice, and treaties and enforcement. There are also chapters on political democracy and state repression, migration, refugees, the environment, indigenous rights, and language sovereignty. This part also looks at social movements, issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity, religion, and the human right to water. The final chapter in the second part examines the SDGs and economic rights.

Chapter

Cover The Globalization of World Politics

18. Race in world politics  

Robbie Shilliam

This chapter examines the ways in which race can been understood as a fundamental ordering principle of world politics. It explores how the histories of European imperialism and colonialism are crucial for understanding the global impact of race, and whether contemporary world politics is less racist than it was in the past. It also considers the relationship between race, biology, and culture. The chapter concludes by discussing the historical processes that gave rise to race, some key debates around the conceptualization of race, and how race continues to order world politics. Two case studies are presented: the first is about the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL) and the second is about caste and Dalits in India. There is also an Opposing Opinions box that asks whether racism emerged as a consequence of the slave trade.

Chapter

Cover Rethinking Political Thinkers

16. Edward W. Said  

Rahul Rao

This chapter studies the major intellectual contributions of Edward Said, many of which laid the foundations for what would become the field of postcolonial studies. It begins by exploring Said’s views on how knowledge and power structure relations between Western imperial powers and non-Western states and societies, through critical readings of Orientalism (1978) and Culture and Imperialism (1993), respectively. The chapter then looks at Said’s writings and activism as a spokesperson for Palestinian self-determination. It also examines Said’s views on what it means to be a public intellectual. While Said’s ideas have become so influential, the apparent familiarity of his ideas has allowed a forgetting of the nuance and complexity with which they were originally articulated. By offering a close re-reading of Said’s best-known texts, the chapter encourages a more careful appreciation of the ideas that were central to his political thinking.

Chapter

Cover Politics in the Developing World

18. Human Rights  

Michael Freeman

This chapter examines the concept of human rights, which derives primarily from the Charter of the United Nations adopted in 1945 immediately after World War II. It first provides a brief account of the history of the concept of human rights before describing the international human rights regime. It then considers two persistent problems that arise in applying the concept of human rights to the developing world: the relations between the claim that the concept is universally valid and the realities of cultural diversity around the world; and the relations between human rights and development. In particular, it explores cultural imperialism and cultural relativism, the human rights implications of the rise of political Islam and the so-called war on terror(ism), and globalization. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the new political economy of human rights.

Chapter

Cover Human Rights: Politics and Practice

1. Normative and Theoretical Foundations of Human Rights  

Anthony J. Langlois

This chapter discusses the normative and theoretical foundations of human rights. More specifically, it examines the theoretical basis for the normative ideas advanced by those who use the language of human rights for an ethical critique of international politics and policy. The chapter first traces the origins of the language of rights before discussing cultural relativism and imperialism, both of which challenge the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ claim to have universal application. It then considers the negative/positive distinction as a way of thinking about the differences between liberty and welfare rights. It also explores group rights, along with the philosophical and political history of the idea of human rights. Finally, it explains how the human rights agenda is deeply political, showing that it privileges a certain set of normative commitments that its proponents hope will become, in time, the ethical constitution of the international system.

Chapter

Cover The Globalization of World Politics

2. The rise of modern international order  

George Lawson

This chapter examines the rise of modern international order. It begins with a discussion of international orders before the modern period, focusing on how trade and transport helped to link diverse parts of the world. It then considers debates about the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, along with nineteenth-century developments such as industrialization and imperialism. It also explores the main ideas that underpinned modern international order, the ‘shrinking of the planet’ that arose from the advent of new technologies, the emergence of intergovernmental organizations and international non-governmental organizations, and the advent of a radically unequal international order. The chapter concludes with an analysis of the significance of nineteenth-century developments for twentieth- and twenty-first-century international relations.

Chapter

Cover Rethinking Political Thinkers

27. Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi  

James Casas Klausen

This chapter examines the development of Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi’s theory and practice of non-violent resistance with respect to British imperialism in Asia and Africa. It also covers how Gandhi projected himself and conducted campaigns of resistance. Gandhi’s book Hind Swaraj presented Indian self-rule as personal/individual and political/collective and introduced the theory behind non-violent resistance. Gandhi’s autobiography reassessed his early activism, showing why anti-racist criticisms are not unfounded and elaborated his dilemmas in reconciling non-violent theory and practice in nationwide political campaigns. The chapter analyses the Salt Satyagraha to show how Gandhi attempted to resolve the tensions of non-violent resistance on a mass scale, which served as a model for non-violent protests against white supremacy and dictatorship.