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An international society - if you can keep it...

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conference contribution
posted on 2006-01-01, 00:00 authored by Steven SlaughterSteven Slaughter
This paper is a defense of the ideal of an international society of sovereign states in an era of growing challenges to its practice. However, in order to defend the ideal of international society in an era of growing threats to the practice of this ideal, particularly in the forms of transnational harm, graphic interstate inequality, revisionist non-state actors and confrontational US foreign policy, I agree with those scholars that the theory of international society needs to be revised. While the English School (ES), also referred to as Rationalism, has examined and defended the ideal of an international society, the current problems facing the society of sovereign states require us to rethink the conceptual tools of the ES. While this paper defends the desirability of a society of sovereign states, I argue that that the pluralist-solidarist divide invites us to make ultimately unhelpful choices about ethics and politics within contemporary world politics. Consequently, I am going to propose that rather than concentrating on the ends that such a society ought to uphold, we ought to concentrate on the ways in which an international society could be sustained and the roles that individuals could play in the contemporary constitution of a robust international society.



Oceanic Conference on International Studies (2nd : 2006 : Melbourne, Victoria)




Melbourne, Victoria

Place of publication

[Melbourne, Vic.]

Start date


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Publication classification

E1.1 Full written paper - refereed

Copyright notice

2006, The Authors

Title of proceedings

OCIS 2006 : Proceedings of the 2nd Oceanic Conference on International Studies 2006

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