Ontology and World Politics: Void Universalism I, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Ontology and World Politics

Void Universalism I, 1st Edition

By Sergei Prozorov


192 pages

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Paperback: 9780415840248
pub: 2013-09-23
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pub: 2013-09-23
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Together these two companion volumes develop an innovative theory of world politics, grounded in the reinterpretation of the concepts of ‘world’ and ‘politics’ from an ontological perspective.

Ontology and World Politics presents a new approach to political universalism, grounded in the reinterpretation of world politics from an ontological perspective. In the discipline of International Relations the concept of world politics remains ambivalent, functioning both as a synonym of international relations and their antonym, denoting the aspirations for the overcoming of interstate pluralism in favour of a universalist politics of the global community or the world state. Rather than distinguish ‘world politics’ from ‘international politics’ by its site, level or issues, Prozorov interprets it as another kind of politics. Drawing on Martin Heidegger’s account of world disclosure and Alain Badiou’s phenomenology of worlds, this book posits world politics as a practice of the affirmation of universal axioms across an infinite plurality of limited and particular situations or ‘worlds’. Prozorov reinterprets the familiar principles of community, equality and freedom in ontological terms as attributes of pure being, subtracted from all positive determinations, and presents them as axioms of universalist politics valid in any world whatsoever. This approach to world politics serves as the groundwork for a comprehensive reconsideration of the central themes of political and international relations theory.

Systematic and accessible, these works will be key reading for all students and scholars of political science and international relations.


With a level of philosophical sophistication rarely found in the discipline of international relations, Sergei Prozorov’s texts issue challenges that no one interested in politics in general and global politics in particular should ignore.

Michael J. Shapiro, University of Hawai’i Manoa, USA.

Taken together, Ontology and World Politics and Theory of the Political Subject represent the most ambitious re-articulation of the ontological and ethical foundations of universalism to date by one of the most brilliant and provocative scholars of his generation. I can thus warmly recommend these volumes to anyone with an interest in cutting-edge international political theory.

Jens Bartelson, Professor of Political Science, Lund University, Sweden.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Existence of Universality PART I. THE WORLD AND WORLDS Chapter 1: Three Concepts of the World Chapter 2: Politics: Bringing the World into Worlds PART II. WHAT IS WORLD POLITICS? Chapter 3: Three Axioms of Politics Chapter 4: The Typology of Political Invariants

About the Author

Sergei Prozorov is University Lecturer in World Politics at the University of Helsinki and Academy of Finland Research Fellow. He is the author of four books, the most recent being The Ethics of Postcommunism. He has also published numerous articles on political philosophy and international relations in major international journals.

About the Series


The Series provides a forum for innovative and interdisciplinary work that engages with alternative critical, post-structural, feminist, postcolonial, psychoanalytic and cultural approaches to international relations and global politics. In our first 5 years we have published 60 volumes.

We aim to advance understanding of the key areas in which scholars working within broad critical post-structural traditions have chosen to make their interventions, and to present innovative analyses of important topics. Titles in the series engage with critical thinkers in philosophy, sociology, politics and other disciplines and provide situated historical, empirical and textual studies in international politics.


We are very happy to discuss your ideas at any stage of the project: just contact us for advice or proposal guidelines. Proposals should be submitted directly to the Series Editors:

  • Jenny Edkins (jennyedkins@hotmail.com) and
  • Nick Vaughan-Williams (N.Vaughan-Williams@Warwick.ac.uk).

‘As Michel Foucault has famously stated, "knowledge is not made for understanding; it is made for cutting" In this spirit The Edkins - Vaughan-Williams Interventions series solicits cutting edge, critical works that challenge mainstream understandings in international relations. It is the best place to contribute post disciplinary works that think rather than merely recognize and affirm the world recycled in IR's traditional geopolitical imaginary.’

Michael J. Shapiro, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, USA


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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Political Parties
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / General