A History of International Thought : From the Origins of the Modern State to Academic International Relations book cover
1st Edition

A History of International Thought
From the Origins of the Modern State to Academic International Relations

ISBN 9781408282922
Published December 21, 2013 by Routledge
320 Pages

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Book Description

International thought is the product of major political changes over the last few centuries, especially the development of the modern state and the industrialisation of the world economy. While the question of how to deal with strangers from other communities has been a constant throughout human history, it is only in recent centuries that the question of ‘foreign relations’ (and especially imperialism and war) have become a matter of urgency for all sectors of society throughout the world. This book provides the first comprehensive overview of the evolution of Western international thought, and charts how this evolved into the predominantly Anglophone field of International Relations. Along the way several myths of the origins of International Relations are explored and exposed: the myth of the peace of Westphalia, the myths of Versailles and the nature of the League of Nations, the realist-idealist ‘Great Debate’ myth, and the myth of appeasement. Major approaches to the study of international affairs are discussed within their context and on their own terms, rather than being shoe-horned into anachronistic ‘paradigms’. Written in a clear and accessible style, Ashworth’s analysis reveals how historical myths have been used as gatekeeping devices, and how a critical re-evaluation of the history of international thought can affect how we see international affairs today.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction Part I International Relations Before the Study of International Relations 2. The origins of the modern state and the creation of international relations . . . by mistake 3. Reaction and reform: patriarchal order and the Enlightenment response 4. A new global political economy? Part II The Emergence of the Discipline of INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND the Great Crisis of Humanity 5. The geopolitics of empire and the international anarchy, 1880–1918 6. The new world: international government and peaceful change, 1919–1935 7. Collapse and war: continuity and change in IR theory, 1936–1945 Part III Conclusion: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS in Living Memory AND Lessons for the Future 8. A new IR for a new world? The growth of an academic field since 1945

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Lucian Ashworth is Professor and Head of the Department of Political Science at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada.


"This book assumes a high level of familiarity with both political theory and international relations and is most suitable for graduate students and scholars. That said, it should be new required reading on comprehensive reading lists everywhere. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduate, graduate, and research collections". - CHOICE - M B. Manjikian, Robertson School a/ Government, Regent University