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Cover The Globalization of World Politics

13. Social constructivism  

Michael Barnett

This chapter examines constructivist approaches to international relations theory. It explores whether there is a possibility of moral progress in world politics, whether some cultures and countries are more (or less) inherently violent, and whether states are motivated by power or by ideas. The chapter also discusses the rise of constructivism and some key concepts of constructivism, including the agent–structure problem, holism, idealism, individualism, materialism, and rational choice. It concludes with an analysis of constructivist assumptions about global change. Two case studies are presented, one relating to social construction of refugees and the 2015 European migration crisis, and the other considers what it means to be a ‘victim’.

Chapter

Cover The Globalization of World Politics

26. Refugees and forced migration  

Ariadna Estévez

This chapter is concerned with the international politics of refugees and forced migration. It shows how they are produced and managed in the context of contemporary globalization. Forced migration, the chapter defines, is the compulsory mobility of people due to existing and potential threats, mostly in the Global South and East. The chapter explains that these threats are related to a variety of international issues, and highlights the fact that there is debate concerning the underlying causes, including on-going colonial legacies and existing power relations. In order to discuss forced migration, with an emphasis on the international politics of refugee legislation and law, the chapter locates the subject within the field of international relations (IR). It goes on to provide an overview of the conceptual debate, presenting a critical discussion of new ways of characterizing forced migration, along with their analytical and policy implications. It then considers how policy-makers classify various types of forced migration. Case studies look at Covid-19 and the effect the pandemic has had on asylum processing and forced migration, criminal and state violence, and corporations in Venezuela.

Chapter

Cover The Globalization of World Politics

16. Global political economy  

Nicola Phillips

This chapter introduces the field of international political economy (IPE), the themes and insights of which are reflected in the global political economy (GPE), and what it offers in the study of contemporary globalization. It begins with three framing questions: How should we think about power in the contemporary global political economy? How does IPE help us to understand what drives globalization? What does IPE tell us about who wins and who loses from globalization? The chapter proceeds by discussing various approaches to IPE and the consequences of globalization, focusing on IPE debates about inequality, labour exploitation, and global migration. Two case studies are presented, the first looking at global value chains (GVCs) and global development and the second dealing with globalization and child labour.

Chapter

Cover The Globalization of World Politics

25. Refugees and forced migration  

Ariadna Estévez

This chapter is concerned with the international politics of refugees and forced migration. It shows how they are produced and managed in the context of contemporary globalization. Forced migration, the chapter defines, is the compulsory mobility of people due to existing and potential threats, mostly in the Global South and East. The chapter explains that these threats are related to a variety of international issues, and highlights the fact that there is debate concerning the underlying causes, including on-going colonial legacies and existing power relations. In order to discuss forced migration, with an emphasis on the international politics of refugee legislation and law, the chapter locates the subject within the field of international relations (IR). It goes on to provide an overview of the conceptual debate, presenting a critical discussion of new ways of characterizing forced migration, along with their analytical and policy implications. It then considers how policy-makers classify various types of forced migration. Finally, it describes the institutions informing the international regime that governs refugees, their specific definitions of the term, and subsidiary categories.

Chapter

Cover The Globalization of World Politics

12. Social constructivism  

Michael Barnett

This chapter examines constructivist approaches to international relations theory. It explores whether there is a possibility of moral progress in world politics, whether some cultures and countries are more (or less) inherently violent, and whether states are motivated by power or by ideas. The chapter also discusses the rise of constructivism and some key concepts of constructivism, including the agent–structure problem, holism, idealism, individualism, materialism, and rational choice. It concludes with an analysis of constructivist assumptions about global change. Two case studies are presented, one relating to social construction of refugees and the 2015 European migration crisis, and the other to the ‘human rights revolution’ and torture. There is also an Opposing Opinions box that asks whether the laws of war have made war less horrific.

Chapter

Cover The Globalization of World Politics

16. Global political economy  

Nicola Phillips

This chapter introduces the field of International Political Economy (IPE), the themes and insights of which are reflected in the Global Political Economy (GPE), and what it offers in the study of contemporary globalization. It begins with three framing questions: How should we think about power in the contemporary global political economy? How does IPE help us to understand what drives globalization? What does IPE tell us about who wins and who loses from globalization? The chapter proceeds by discussing various approaches to IPE and the consequences of globalization, focusing on IPE debates about inequality, labour exploitation, and global migration. Two case studies are presented, one dealing with the BRICs and the rise of China, and the other with slavery and forced labour in global production. There is also an Opposing Opinions box that asks whether national states are irrelevant in an era of economic globalization.