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New books

from members of the Department of International Relations

Below are some recent books from members of the Department.

You can also see publications from the Department.

 

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Global Historical Sociology
(Cambridge University Press 2017)
by Julian Go and George Lawson (eds)

This collection lays out the international, transnational, and global dimensions of social change. It reveals the shortcomings of existing scholarship and argues for a deepening of the 'third wave' of historical sociology through a concerted treatment of transnational and global dynamics as they unfold in and through time. The volume combines theoretical interventions with in-depth case studies. By bringing this sensibility to bear on a wide range of issue-areas, the volume lays out the promise of a truly global historical sociology.


 

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‘The International Origins of Social and Political Theory’
Special Issue, Political Power and Social Theory 32
by Tarak Barkawi and George Lawson (eds)

This special volume looks at the necessary entanglement of theory and history, the cortical relationship between theory and practice, and the transboundary (i.e., international) relations that help to constitute systems of both thought and practice. We integrate the contributions to the special issue within these overarching themes and identify their main contributions. We make three core arguments: first, all theory is situated knowledge, derived in and through historical context; second, theory-practice is a single field in which theory arises out of and acts upon historical experience; and third, both social and political theory have international origins, arising from transboundary encounters.


 



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Soldiers of Empire: Indian and British Armies in World War II

(Cambridge University Press 2017)
by Tarak Barkawi

How are soldiers made? Why do they fight? Re-imagining the study of armed forces and society, Barkawi examines the imperial and multinational armies that fought in Asia in the Second World War, especially the British Indian army in the Burma campaign.

Drawing on history, sociology and anthropology, the book critiques the 'Western way of war' from a postcolonial perspective.

Barkawi reconceives soldiers as cosmopolitan, their battles irreducible to the national histories that monopolise them. 

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Public Opinion, Legitimacy and Tony Blair’s War in Iraq
(Routledge, 2017)
by James Strong

In the wake of the publication of the Chilcot report, this book reinterprets the relationship between British public opinion and the Blair government’s decision-making in the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It highlights how the government won the parliamentary vote and got its war, but never won the argument that it was the right thing to do. Understanding how, why and with what consequences Britain wound up in this position means understanding better both this specific case and the wider issue of how democratic publics influence foreign policy processes.


 

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Political Trials in Theory and History
(Cambridge University Press 2017)
edited by Jens Meierhenrich and Devin O Pendas

From the trial of Socrates to the post-9/11 military commissions, trials have always been useful instruments of politics. Yet there is still much that we do not understand about them. Why do governments use trials to pursue political objectives, and when? What differentiates political trials from ordinary ones? Contrary to conventional wisdom, not all political trials are show trials or contrive to set up scapegoats. This volume offers a novel account of political trials that is empirically rigorous and theoretically sophisticated, linking state-of-the-art research on telling cases to a broad argument about political trials as a socio-legal phenomenon.


 

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The Oxford Handbook of Carl Schmitt
(Oxford University Press, 2016)
edited by Jens Meierhenrich and Oliver Simons

Uniquely located at the intersection of law, the social sciences, and the humanities, this book adopts a truly interdisciplinary approach to the difficult oeuvre of Carl Schmitt.  It highlights the trinity of Carl Schmitt's thought, i.e., the mutually constitutive relationship among his political thought, legal thought, and cultural thought, and it assembles virtually all leading scholars of Carl Schmitt from disciplines as diverse as art, law, literature, philosophy, political science, and history.


 

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The Handbook of Global Climate and Environment Policy
(Wiley-Blackwell, 2016)
edited by Robert Falkner

This book presents an authoritative and comprehensive overview of international policy on climate and the environment. It brings together a global team of experts from the fields of environmental politics, international relations, economics, and law, who explore current debates and the latest thinking in the search for global environmental solutions. The volume reviews the key environmental challenges, concepts, and approaches; examines the role of global actors, institutions, and processes; and considers the links between the global economy and global environmental politics.


 

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Chinese Economic Diplomacy:
Decision-making actors and processes
by Shuxiu Zhang
(Routledge, 2016)

Chinese Economic Diplomacy provides an understanding of the processes and practices of China’s economic diplomacy, with multilateral economic negotiations as the primary basis of analysis, specifically the UN climate change talks and the WTO Doha Round trade negotiations. It examines how early economic diplomacy in global governance contributed to the varied and evolving nature of its present-day decision-making structures and processes. Demonstrating how China’s negotiation preferences are driven by networks of political actors in formal and informal domestic and systemic environments, it also highlights the capacity of international negotiation practices to alter and re-shape China’s approach to multilateral economic negotiations. As a consequence, the book presents a framework for understanding China’s economic diplomacy decision-making processes that is systemically constructed by domestic and international agencies.


 

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Taming the Imperial Imagination
Colonial Knowledge, International Relations, and the Anglo-Afghan Encounter, 1808–1878
by Martin J. Bayly
(Cambridge University Press, 2016) 

This book marks a novel intervention into the debate on empire and international relations, and offers a new perspective on nineteenth-century Anglo-Afghan relations. Martin J. Bayly shows how, throughout the 19th century, the British Empire in India sought to understand and control its peripheries through the use of colonial knowledge.

Addressing the fundamental question of what Afghanistan itself meant to the British at the time, he draws on extensive archival research to show how knowledge of Afghanistan was built, refined and warped by an evolving colonial state.

This knowledge informed policy choices and cast Afghanistan in a separate legal and normative universe. Beginning with the disorganised exploits of 19th-century explorers and ending with the cold strategic logic of the militarised 'scientific frontier', this book tracks the 19th-century origins of contemporary policy 'expertise' and the forms of knowledge that inform interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere today.


 

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ISIS: A History
by Fawaz A. Gerges
(Princeton University Press, 2016)

The Islamic State has stunned the world with its savagery, destructiveness, and military and recruiting successes. What explains the rise of ISIS and what does it portend for the future of the Middle East? In this book, one of the world's leading authorities on political Islam and jihadism sheds new light on these questions as he provides a unique history of the rise and growth of ISIS. Moving beyond journalistic accounts, Fawaz Gerges provides a clear and compelling account of the deeper conditions that fuel ISIS.

An authoritative introduction to arguably the most important conflict in the world today, this is an essential book for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the social turmoil and political violence ravaging the Arab-Islamic world.

"A specific, timely, well-rendered exegesis of the unfolding global threat."--Kirkus (starred review)

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ISIS: A History has been shortlisted for the prestigious Arthur Ross Book Award 2017 from the Council on Foreign Relations.

This annual award recognises books that make an outstanding contribution to the understanding of foreign policy or international relations.

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