1st Edition

Global Ethics Anarchy, Freedom and International Relations

By Mervyn Frost Copyright 2009
    192 Pages
    by Routledge

    192 Pages
    by Routledge

    This provocative and original book challenges the commonplace that contemporary international interactions are best understood as struggles for power. Eschewing jargon and theoretical abstraction, Mervyn Frost argues that global politics and global civil society must be understood in ethical terms. International actors are always faced with the ethical question: So, what ought we to do in circumstances like these?

    Illustrating the centrality of ethics to our understanding of global politics and global civil society with detailed case studies, Frost shows how international actors constitute one another in global social practices that are underpinned by specific ethical commitments.

    Case Studies examined include:

    • The War on Iraq
    • The ‘Global War on Terror’
    • Iran
    • Human Rights
    • Globalization and Migration
    • The use of Private Military Companies.

    Global Ethics forces readers to confront their own necessary ethical engagement as citizens and rights holders in global society. Failure to understand international relations in ethical terms will lead to misguided action. This book should be read by all scholars and students of international relations as well as the general reader seeking an accessible account of the importance of ethical decisions in world affairs.

    Introduction  1. The ubiquity of ethics in international relations 1.1 International ethics: thick or thin? 1.2 Taking the ethical turn 1.3 Social practices, actors and ethics 1.4 Power, politics and ethics 1.5 The primacy of ethics 1.6 Understanding international relations in ethical terms 1.7 War in Iraq understood in ethical terms: the Baker Hamilton Report and other interpretations  2. Global ethical practices 2.1 The anarchical society of sovereign states 2.2 The anarchical society of civilians: global civil society  3. Ethical incoherence: Individual rights versus states’ rights 3.1 Rights and sovereignty: reframing the tension 3.2 The ethical underpinning of double anarchy 3.3 Ethical transformation in a double anarchy 3.4 Migrants in world politics 3.5 Assessing humanitarian intervention 3.6 Assessing globalization 3.7 Understanding torture in international relations  4. Global terrorism understood in ethical terms 4.1 The threat of self destruction in civil society 4.2 The threat of self destruction in the society of sovereign states  5. Defending anarchies


    Mervyn Frost is Professor of International Relations and Head of the Department of War Studies, King's College, London, UK.  Educated at Stellenbosch and Oxford, he has held appointments at Rhodes University, the University of Natal, and the University of Kent. His major publications are: Towards a Normative Theory of International Relations (Cambridge University Press, 1986), Ethics in International Relations (Cambridge University Press, 1996) and Constituting Human Rights: Global Civil Society and the Society of Democratic States (London: Routledge, 2002).