Routledge Handbook of Ethics and International Relations: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Routledge Handbook of Ethics and International Relations

1st Edition

Edited by Brent J. Steele, Eric A. Heinze


586 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2018-07-02
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Ethics and international Relations (IR), once considered along the margins of the IR field, has emerged as one of the most eclectic and interdisciplinary research areas today. Yet the same diversity that enriches this field also makes it a difficult one to characterize. Is it, or should it only be, the social-scientific pursuit of explaining and understanding how ethics influences the behaviours of actors in international relations? Or, should it be a field characterized by what the world should be like, based on philosophical, normative and policy-based arguments? This Handbook suggests that it can actually be both, as the contributions contained therein demonstrate how those two conceptions of ethics and international relations are inherently linked.

Seeking to both provide an overview of the field and to drive debates forward, this Handbook is framed by an opening chapter providing a concise and accessible overview of the complex history of the field of ethics and IR, and a conclusion that discusses how the field may progress in the future and what subjects are likely to rise to prominence. Within are forty-four distinct and original contributions from scholars teaching and researching in the field, which are structured around eight key thematic sections:

  • philosophical foundations
  • international relations theory
  • international security and just war
  • justice, rights and global governance
  • international intervention
  • environment, health and migration
  • global economics
  • religion and ethics

Drawing together a diverse range of scholars, the Routledge Handbook of Ethics and International Relations provides a cutting-edge overview of the field by bringing together these eclectic, albeit dynamic, themes and topics. It will be an essential resource for students and scholars alike.


"This is a comprehensive and wide-ranging collection which without neglecting traditional subjects such as Just War and Global Justice also covers more recent concerns such as post-colonialism, the emotions and environmentalism. It will be an invaluable teaching resource." - Chris Brown, Emeritus Professor of International Relations, London School of Economics and Political Science

"Steele and Heinze have assembled an indispensable resource. Scholars, teachers, students, and general interest readers will find this to be the best one-stop reference for the field of ethics and international relations. Comprehensive in scope, rich in detail, and masterful in interpretation, the Handbook gives voice to a wide range of contributors, all of whom share their expertise with clarity and spirit." - Joel H. Rosenthal, President, Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs

Table of Contents


Brent J. Steele and Eric Heinze

1 A history of ethics in international relations

Kimberly Hutchings

Philosophical Foundations

Philosophical foundations

Joy Gordon

2 Kantian themes in ethics and international relations

Matthew Lindauer

3 Global egalitarianism

Kok-Chor Tan

4 Collective responsibility

David Atenasio

5 Constructing realities in international politics

Raul Salgado

6 Agency, explanation and ethics in international relations

Damian Cox and Michael Levine

International relations theory

IR theory

Fiona Robinson

7 Hunting the state of nature: race and ethics in postcolonial international relations

Ajay Parasram

8 Social constructivism and international ethics

Jonathan Havercroft

9 Truth and power, uncertainty and catastrophe: ethics in IR realism

Andrew R. Hom

10 Ethics and feminist international relations theory

Elisabeth Porter

11 Critical international ethics: knowing/acting differently

Kate Schick

International security and just war

Security and the ethics of war

Cian O’Driscoll

12 Morgenthau and the ethics of realism

Seán Molloy

13 Ethics and critical security studies

Matt McDonald

14 Tradition-based approaches to the study of the ethics of war

Rosemary B. Kellison and Nahed Artoul Zehr

15 How should just war theory be revised? Reductive versus relational individualism

John W. Lango

16 Critical approaches to the ethics of war

Amy E. Eckert and Caron E. Gentry

Justic, rights and global governance

Ethics and institutions

Anthony F. Lang, Jr.

17 Historical context

Beate Jahn

18 Justice: constitution and critique

Antonio Franceschet

19 The ethical terrain of international human rights: from invoking dignity to practicing recognition

Patrick Hayden

20 International law and ethics

Andrea Birdsall

International intervention

Ethics and international intervention

James Pattison

21 Historical thinking about human protection: insights from Vattel

Luke Glanville

22 The global ethics of humanitarian action

Hugo Slim

23 The Responsibility to Protect: the evolution of a hollow norm

Aidan Hehir

24 Right intent on humanitarian intervention

Fernando R. Tesón

Environment, health and migration: the ethics of vulnerability

Vulnerability in international relations

Debra L. DeLaet

25 Transnational migration and the construction of vulnerability

Michele L. Statz

26 At a crossroads: health and vulnerability in the era of HIV

Elizabeth Mills

27 Climate change, sustainable development, and vulnerability

Tabitha M. Benney

28 Climate change and island populations

Carol Farbotko

Ethics and the global economy

IPE and the ethics of global economy

James Brassett

29 The ethics of alternative finance: governing, resisting and rethinking the limits of finance

Chris D. Clarke

30 Decolonial global justice: a critique of the ethics of the global economy

Puneet Dhaliwal

31 Gender, nature and the ethics of finance in a racialized global (political) economy

Penny Griffin

32 Biofuels and the ethics of global governance: experimentalism, disagreement, politics

James Brassett, Ben Richardson and William Smith

Religion and international ethics

The significance of religious ethics in international politics

Cecelia M. Lynch

33 Adam Smith’s ambiguous theodicy and the ethics of internaional political economy

David Blaney

34 Religion, emotions and conflict escalation

Mona Kanwal Sheikh

35 Solidarity beyond religious and secular: political ontology as an ethical framework in the politics of forced displacement

Erin K. Wilson

36 Ethics from the underside

William Ackah

37 Ibn Khaldun and the wealth of civilizations

Mustapha Kamal Pasha

38 The futures of ethics and international relations

Dan Bulley

About the Editors

Brent J. Steele is Professor and Francis D. Wormuth Presidential Chair in the Department of Political Science at the University of Utah, USA.

Eric A. Heinze is Professor in the Department of International and Area Studies at the University of Oklahoma, USA.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings: