The Global Transformation: History, Modernity and the Making of International Relations

The Global Transformation: History, Modernity and the Making of International Relations

by Barry Buzan, George Lawson
     
 

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The 'long nineteenth century' (1776-1914) was a period of political, economic, military and cultural revolutions that re-forged both domestic and international societies. Neither existing international histories nor international relations texts sufficiently register the scale and impact of this 'global transformation', yet it is the consequences of these multiple

Overview

The 'long nineteenth century' (1776-1914) was a period of political, economic, military and cultural revolutions that re-forged both domestic and international societies. Neither existing international histories nor international relations texts sufficiently register the scale and impact of this 'global transformation', yet it is the consequences of these multiple revolutions that provide the material and ideational foundations of modern international relations. Global modernity reconstituted the mode of power that underpinned international order and opened a power gap between those who harnessed the revolutions of modernity and those who were denied access to them. This gap dominated international relations for two centuries and is only now being closed. By taking the global transformation as the starting point for international relations, this book repositions the roots of the discipline and establishes a new way of both understanding and teaching the relationship between world history and international relations.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This hugely ambitious and engaging book should immediately establish itself as a foundational text for the study of international relations. Whatever scholarly debates may arise regarding matters of emphasis, interpretation, omission and commission, Buzan and Lawson have achieved a grand synthesis that would have been impossible in less capable hands. Their work presents the nineteenth century as a sort of Rosetta stone for understanding our contemporary world, and we are emphatically reminded that modernity has not yet released us from its grip."
Mlada Bukovansky, Smith College, Massachusetts

"In this ambitious work, Buzan and Lawson do nothing less than tell us how our global modernity came to be. But they also tell us why the discipline of international relations has failed to understand this transformation before, and how we should analyse and theorize global modernity in the first place. Partly a concise history of modern global power, partly a sustained critique of, and programme for, the study of international relations: this is among the best that global social science has to offer."
Julian Go, Boston University

"In this highly impressive book Buzan and Lawson make a strong case for locating the origins of modern international relations to the long nineteenth century. Most important is that this is no mere historical argument that is relevant only to historical sociologists in IR but, in providing an alternative temporal benchmark to the conventional moments, they are able to take on many of the taken-for-granted assumptions (and heroic myths) that continue to permeate the discipline."
John M. Hobson, University of Sheffield and author of The Eurocentric Conception of World Politics

"Buzan and Lawson's The Global Transformation is a colossal achievement. Drawing from an incredibly broad-ranging body of literature from political science, historical sociology, world history and economics, the authors advance a lucid and compelling argument about the global transformation's nature, and its seismic impact on international relations. This is a landmark intervention in international relations, and should be compulsory reading for anyone interested in understanding the global order's origins, its contested constitution and its likely future."
Andrew Phillips, University of Queensland

"Some claims are so compelling, persuasive, and simply correct that, upon reading them, we say to ourselves "Of course! How could anyone have ever thought differently?". Buzan and Lawson provide just such an argument: that the contemporary international system originated in the configuration of processes, developments and events that marked the long nineteenth century. Anyone interested in the critical debate about the origins and future trajectory of world politics should read this book."
Dan Nexon, Georgetown University and Lead Editor, International Studies Quarterly

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781107035577
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
02/05/2015
Series:
Cambridge Studies in International Relations Series, #135
Pages:
424
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Barry Buzan is Emeritus Professor in the Department of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science, a Senior Fellow at LSE IDEAS and a Fellow of the British Academy. Among his books are International Systems in World History (2000, with Richard Little); Regions and Powers (Cambridge, 2003, with Ole W'ver); From International to World Society? (Cambridge, 2004, with Ole W'ver); The Evolution of International Security Studies (Cambridge, 2009, with Lene Hansen) and An Introduction to the English School of International Relations (2014).

George Lawson is an Associate Professor of International Relations in the Department of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His research focuses on the interface between international relations and historical sociology, and on processes of radical change, most notably revolutions. He is the author of Negotiated Revolutions (2005) and editor of The Global 1989 (Cambridge, 2010, with Chris Armbruster and Michael Cox).

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