Bounding Power: Republican Security Theory from the Polis to the Global Village

Princeton University Press
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Realism, the dominant theory of international relations, particularly regarding security, seems compelling in part because of its claim to embody so much of Western political thought from the ancient Greeks to the present. Its main challenger, liberalism, looks to Kant and nineteenth-century economists. Despite their many insights, neither realism nor liberalism gives us adequate tools to grapple with security globalization, the liberal ascent, and the American role in their development. In reality, both realism and liberalism and their main insights were largely invented by republicans writing about republics.

The main ideas of realism and liberalism are but fragments of republican security theory, whose primary claim is that security entails the simultaneous avoidance of the extremes of anarchy and hierarchy, and that the size of the space within which this is necessary has expanded due to technological change.


In Daniel Deudney's reading, there is one main security tradition and its fragmentary descendants. This theory began in classical antiquity, and its pivotal early modern and Enlightenment culmination was the founding of the United States. Moving into the industrial and nuclear eras, this line of thinking becomes the basis for the claim that mutually restraining world government is now necessary for security and that political liberty cannot survive without new types of global unions.


Unique in scope, depth, and timeliness, Bounding Power offers an international political theory for our fractious and perilous global village.

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About the author

Daniel H. Deudney is Associate Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University. He has written extensively on international political theory and contemporary global issues.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Dec 16, 2010
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Pages
384
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ISBN
9781400837274
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / History & Theory
Political Science / International Relations / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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A collection of essays on the politics of boundaries, this book addresses a broad range of cases, some geographical, some legal, and some involving less tangible practices of inclusion and exclusion. The book begins by exploring the boundary between modern Western forms of international relations and their constitutive outsides. Beyond this, the author engages with relations between subjectivity and security, security and nature, social movements and a world politics, as well as the politics of spatiotemporal dislocation. Two chapters address the work of Thomas Hobbes and Max Weber as exemplary accounts of the relationship between boundaries and the constitution of modern forms of politics. Each chapter speaks not only to the politics of specific boundary practices, but also to the limits within which modern politics has been shaped in relation to claims about spatiality, temporality, sovereignty and subjectivity. In this way, the book draws attention to a pervasive account of a scalar order of higher and lower that has shaped more familiar distinctions between internality and externality.

Offering an analysis of the relation between concepts of internationalism, imperialism and exceptionalism, as well as the implications of spatiotemporal dislocation for claims about democracy, the book links contemporary claims about the transformation of boundaries to various ways in which political life is said to be in crisis and in need of novel forms of critique. Brought up to date by a new and extensive introductory essay and an assessment of the status of political judgement after 9/11, this book is essential reading for students and scholars of politics, international relations, political theory and political sociology.

In the second half of the twentieth century, the United States engaged in the most ambitious and far-reaching liberal order building the world had yet seen. This liberal international order has been one of the most successful in history in providing security and prosperity to more people. But in the last decade, the American-led order has been troubled. Some argue that the Bush administration, with its war on terror, invasion of Iraq, and unilateral orientation, undermined this liberal order. Others argue that we are witnessing the end of the American era. Liberal Leviathan engages these debates.

G. John Ikenberry argues that the crisis that besets the American-led order is a crisis of authority. A political struggle has been ignited over the distribution of roles, rights, and authority within the liberal international order. But the deeper logic of liberal order remains alive and well. The forces that have triggered this crisis--the rise of non-Western states such as China, contested norms of sovereignty, and the deepening of economic and security interdependence--have resulted from the successful functioning and expansion of the postwar liberal order, not its breakdown. The liberal international order has encountered crises in the past and evolved as a result. It will do so again.


Ikenberry provides the most systematic statement yet about the theory and practice of the liberal international order, and a forceful message for policymakers, scholars, and general readers about why America must renegotiate its relationship with the rest of the world and pursue a more enlightened strategy--that of the liberal leviathan.

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