1st Edition

International Relations as Politics among People Hermeneutic Encounters and Global Governance

By Hannes Hansen-Magnusson Copyright 2020
    138 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    138 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Pioneering a hermeneutic methodology for analyses of global governance, this is the first monograph that makes Hans-Georg Gadamer’s and Paul Ricœur’s hermeneutic philosophy relevant for global politics research. Drawing on the concept of "horizon" as the element that captures the dynamics of understanding in social interaction in order to analyse processes of international politics, this book shows that what is required is the embeddedness of meanings and ideas in human action and reflection. By advancing theory-building with regard to particular questions of global governance, it reconceptualises international relations as "politics among people". Providing a contextualised constructivist approach that highlights the importance of processes to which people are central, it challenges the use of collective concepts such as "state" and "nation" as units of analysis which continue to dominate international relations but which cloud the details of interaction processes.

    The two case studies of UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and Germany in NATO’s mission "Operation Allied Force" in Kosovo in 1999 are structured around this contextualised constructivist approach developed in the monograph. The studies reveal how interaction processes can be made accountable, leading to new vantage points of our understanding of governance problems.

    This book will be of interest to scholars interested in global governance, the work of Hans-Georg Gadamer, Paul Ricœeur and hermeneutic philosophy, the UN, humanitarian interventions, and foreign policy analysts.

    1. Introducing Politics among People

    Why politics among people?

    Beyond anarchy – meaningful politics in strange places

    Aims of the book: hermeneutic situations and how to find them

    The horizon of Politics among People: knowledge and power

    Performances and topoi

    Outline of the book

    2. Hermeneutic approaches to meaning

    Making sense

    Delineating hermeneutic performances

    Competent performances



    Horizons, memory and the politics of performance

    Meaning and (neuro-)science

    Knowledge and the path to knowing

    3. The topoi of interpretive research

    Hermeneutic research


    Criteria of validity in interpretive research

    Proceeding by comparison and sequence

    Finding topoi

    4. The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea

    The case: bringing UNCLOS as politics among people to IR

    Outline of the case study: data and the process of analysis

    Comte’s positivism

    Humanity: making the Law of the Sea

    Objectivity: delimiting the continental shelf

    Expertocracy: who gets to participate in the endless re-making of the Law of the Sea?



    5. Humanity and German Intervention in Kosovo 1999

    The case: intervention and the concern for humanity

    Outline of the case study: data and the process of analysis

    The topos of ‘Humanity’

    From pacifism to intervention

    Founding the Greens

    Green Foreign Policy during the 1990s

    The Responsibility to Intervene


    6. Horizons of politics

    How to deal with politics among people?

    Hermeneutic encounters

    Hermeneutic methodology

    The cases


    Towards new horizons


    Hannes Hansen-Magnusson is Senior Lecturer in International Relations at Cardiff University, UK. His research is located in international relations with particular interests in global governance, focusing on actors and practices at the transnational level and the role of culture in international politics.