The Scandinavian International Society : Primary Institutions and Binding Forces, 1815-2010 book cover
1st Edition

The Scandinavian International Society
Primary Institutions and Binding Forces, 1815-2010

ISBN 9781138109780
Published June 16, 2017 by Routledge
240 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book provides a comprehensive analysis of Scandinavia as a regional international society, including the Nordic Peace and the rise of the Scandinavian welfare state.

Schouenborg aims to take the next big step in the theoretical development of the English School of International Relations - particularly the structural version introduced by Barry Buzan. He analyses the formation of a Scandinavian regional international society over a 200-year period and develops the concepts of ‘primary institutions’ and ‘binding forces’ as an analytical framework. In doing so, he not only offers one of the first systematic applications of English School structural theory, but also sheds a new comparative light on the distinctiveness of Scandinavian international relations, and provides a novel intervention in the debates about the emergence of the so-called Nordic Peace. In the first part of the book Schouenborg explains the core concepts and discusses how one may distinguish a regional international society from the broader global international society in which it is embedded. In the second part he provides an in-depth study of the Scandinavian case, focussing on the periods 1815 to 1919; 1919 to 1989; and 1989 to 2010.

The Scandinavian International Society will be of interest to students and scholars of international relations theory, Scandinavian international relations and history, and researchers engaged in comparative welfare state studies.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction  Part 1: The Analytical Framework  2. Regional International Societies, Primary Institutions and Binding Forces  3. Applying English School Structural Theory  4. Exceptionalism and Post-Westphalian Regional International Societies  Part 2: The Scandinavian Case Study  5. Primary Institutions – 1815-1919  6. Binding Forces – 1815-1919  7. Primary Institutions – 1919-1989  8. Binding Forces – 1919-1989  9. Primary Institutions 1989-2010  10. Binding Forces – 1989-2010  11. Conclusion

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Laust Schouenborg holds a PhD in International Relations from the London School of Economics, UK, and is assistant professor in Global Studies at Roskilde University, Denmark.


"Laust Schouenborg has confronted the exceptionalist discourse on international society seen in the Nordic region with the thoughts of the English School on regional international society. The result is well-researched, designed and carried out. Particular reference is made to the idea of ‘the Nordic Peace’ and to the notion of solidarity in Nordic foreign policy. Using a strong set of indicators Laust finds good reason for the existence of a Scandinavian international society. A good read for those interested in how international relations can sometimes turn out right!" - Clive Archer, Emeritus Professor, Manchester Metropolitan University

"In this important book, Schouenborg chronicles the development of a Scandinavian (-Baltic) international society over a period of 200 years. The book will be interesting news for IR-theorists because it develops a coherent analytical framework which clarifies the forces behind the development of regional international society. This represents a strengthening of English School theory. In terms of concrete analysis we are offered—for the first time—a comprehensive and convincing understanding of how the Scandinavian international society developed over time and how it came to include the Baltic states."  - Georg Sørensen, Professor, Aarhus University, Denmark