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Title: Towards a new tricontinental ? shifting perspectives and realities in the international system
Authors: Heacock, Roger 
Keywords: International organization;International relations;Bipolarity (International relations)
Issue Date: 2006
Publisher: Birzeit University. Ibrahim Abu Lughod Institute of International Studies
Abstract: The purpose in this study is to examine the historical interaction between international theory and practice, and to describe current characteristics and prospects. The project may not in itself be an entirely original one, but given the state of academic affairs it becomes relevant to go over the ground once again. Two immediate justifications may be mentioned. One is the fact that the long dominance in the scholarship of realism and neorealism (the first grounded in the Hobbesian view of “human nature”, the second in the “structure” of the system), stretching from the interwar period (exemplified by EH Carr’s Twenty-Years’ Crisis) through the cold war,1 found itself so heavily contested with the collapse of the bipolar system that it survives today thanks to borrowings from such former enemies as institutionalism and neo-liberalism. This is because the various incarnations of realism never dealt with the conundrum of unipolarity, a hypothesis which it basically excluded except as a possible brief interlude during which the hegemonic power is brought down, and more importantly, because the founding axiom of neo-realism was the presumed permanence of the bipolar world. The second, and more significant one, is the progressive shift in the discourse of key international actors that has been underway since the beginning of the twentieth century, and more particularly since the end of the First World War, resulting in the transmutation of the principles of civil and, especially, criminal law, over into the international sphere and engendering a new international discourse. In this way, a mechanical interpretation of international politics based on intersecting sovereignties was replaced by a normative one based on freshly minted absolutes.
Appears in Collections:Ibrahim Abu Lughod Institute of International Studies

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