1st Edition

States, Civilisations and the Reset of World Order

By Richard Higgott Copyright 2022
    188 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    188 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    This book evaluates the current state of world (dis)order at a time of growing populism, nationalism and pandemic panic. It distils the implications of the ‘civilisational state’ for world order.

    The retreat of US leadership is mirrored by the decline of both the material and normative liberal multilateral infrastructure it supported. Meanwhile, the rise of China as a challenger is accompanied in political, economic and cultural terms by other emerging powers no longer bound to the norms of 20th century world affairs, notably Turkey, India, China and Russia. By emphasising a cultural lens of analysis alongside robust political and economic analysis, the author offers a prescriptive agenda for the coming post-pandemic age that recognises the changing powers of civilisational, state and hybrid non-state actors. Without overestimating their probabilities, he outlines prospects and preconditions for effective inter-civilisational dialogue and proposes a series of minimal conditions for a multilateral ‘reset’.

    This book will appeal to public and private decision-makers, the media, the educated lay public and civil society actors interested in the rise of civilisational politics and its possible consequences for world affairs. It will be of particular interest to students and researchers in the fields of politics, international relations, international political economy, geopolitics, strategic studies, foreign policy and social psychology.

    Introduction: Civilisations, Pandemics and Order

    Part One: States, Civilisations and World Order

    1. Making Sense of Liberal International Order: Concepts and Context

    2. International Order, the US-China Relationship and Europe

    3. Civilisational States and Regions: Actors Beyond a Western Liberal Order

    4. Challenges for World Order: Development, Ecology and Pandemics

    Part Two: A Post Pandemic World Order: Towards a Reset?

    5. Civilisational Dialogue as a Vehicle for Reforming World Order: Can the Liberalism–Nationalism Standoff be Negotiated?

    6. Relearning Multilateralism: The Principled Case for a Global Reset

    7. From Principle to Practice in a Multilateral Reset

    8. Ten Propositions and a Provocation on World Order



    Richard Higgott is Distinguished Professor of Diplomacy in the Brussels School of Governance at VUB, Belgium; Visiting Professor in the Department of Cognitive, Social and Political Science at the University of Siena, Italy and Emeritus Professor of International Political Economy at the University of Warwick, UK. He is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences of the UK.

    "A sweeping and sophisticated analysis of world order, its complex interplay of culture, geopolitics, economics, and pandemic-induced anxieties, with an eye for key academic and policy debates. A book for the times."

    Amitav Acharya, Distinguished Professor at the American University, Washington, DC, USA

    "As we move from a mono-civilization to a multi-civilizational world, from unipolarity to multipolarity, from unilateralism to multilateralism, it takes a complex encyclopaedia of a mind to grasp and explain these complex changes. Higgott provides it. This fascinating volume is a must-read for our times."

    Kishore Mahbubani, Distinguished Fellow at the Asia Research Institute of the National University of Singapore, and author of Has China Won?