Liberal World Order and Its Critics: Civilisational States and Cultural Commonwealths, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Liberal World Order and Its Critics

Civilisational States and Cultural Commonwealths, 1st Edition

By Adrian Pabst


106 pages

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Hardback: 9780367029937
pub: 2018-11-27
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pub: 2018-12-07
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Liberals blame the retreat of the liberal world order on populists at home and authoritarian leaders abroad. Only liberalism, so they claim, can defend the rules-based international system against demagogy, corruption and nationalism. This provocative book contends that the liberal world order is illiberal and undemocratic – intolerant about the cultural values of ordinary people in the West and elsewhere while concentrating power in the hands of unaccountable Western elites and Western-dominated institutions.

Under the influence of contemporary liberalism, the international system is fuelling economic injustice, social fragmentation and a worldwide “culture war” between globalists and nativists. Liberals, far from defending rules, have broken international law and imposed their version of market fundamentalism and democracy promotion by military means. Liberal “civilisation” has fuelled resentment across the world by imposing a narrow worldview that pits cultures against one another. To avoid a descent into a violent culture clash, this book proposes radical ideas for international order that take the form of cultural commonwealths – social bonds and crossborder cultural ties on which international trust and cooperation depends.

The book’s defence of an older order against both liberals and nationalists will speak to all readers trying to understand our age of anger. This book will be of key interest to scholars, students and readers of liberalism, political theory and democracy, and more broadly to comparative politics and international relations.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Liberal World Order in Retreat

1. Hubris: The Rise and Fall of the Liberal World Order

2. Backlash: The Global Revolt against Liberalism

3. Interregnum: The Battle for Hegemony

4. Commonwealths: The Case for Cultural Association

5. Covenant: The Resurgence of Civilisation

Conclusion: The Once and Future Order

About the Author

Adrian Pabst is Reader in Politics at the School of Politics and International Relations, University of Kent, UK.

About the Series

World Politics and Dialogues of Civilizations

World Politics and Dialogue of Civilizations Series

This new series focuses on the key challenges in world politics with a critical and pluralist angle.

It assumes that mutual understanding is the fundamental prerequisite for humankind’s inclusive development, and that open, respectful, and equitable dialogue among different cultural and civilizational frameworks is essential in these times of dramatic global change and uncertainty for developing effective cooperation and partnership.

The series aims to explore alternative models of the social, political and economic developments at regional and world levels in order to advance theoretical understanding, promote political debate, and provide policy-oriented advice on six broad macro-areas:

  • POLICIES, INSTITUTIONS, AND SHARED PROSPERITY (examines how the international community, including state and non-state actors alike, can generate shared prosperity through common policies)
  • INFRASTRUCTURE for gLOBAL INCLUSIVE DEVELOPMENT (analyses how the development of infrastructure promotes social and economic justice)
  • THE ECONOMY BEYOND THE FAILURE OF CONVENTIONAL MODELS (studies how non-mainstream approaches respond to the failures of neo-liberal economic models)
  • EAST AND WEST, north and south (addresses the question of how cultural and political identities can survive and flourish in the context of globalization)
  • CIVILISATIONS AGAINST THE THREAT OF SOCIAL BARBARISM (explores the way social barbarism has become part of contemporary socio-philosophical discourse)
  • LIFE SPACE FOR HUMANITY (explores how different family systems and social structures of different civilisations are related to civil cohesion and economic development)

The series is linked to the research carried out by the Dialogue of Civilization-DoC Research Institute (Berlin), but it is open to external contribution. Indeed, dissonant voices/opinions, if adequately formulated, are welcome in the debate that the series encourages.

Different formats apply to the series, ranging from ‘short-form’ issue based polemical/discussion readers on key topics to standard monograph length more academic titles and research edited collections.

For more depth on the above, please visit the DoC website at:

If you have an idea for a new book in the Routledge Series on World Politics through Dialogue of Civilizations, please contact the Series Editor:

Raffaele Marchetti

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