Abstracts Volume 31, No. 2

Branding Territory: Inside the Wonderful Worlds of PR and IR Theory Peter van Ham

The practice of 'branding' has invaded all aspects of public and private life. Increasingly, cities, regions and states are using the services of PR and branding consultants to strengthen their ties with so-called stakeholders, aiming to achieve economic and political benefits. This essay studies the intersection between the two worlds of PR and IR theory; two epistemic communities that have little real contact with each other, despite the fact that they share an interest in concepts such as globalisation, identity and the changing nature of power in international politics. This essay offers numerous concrete examples of the phenomenon of location branding to describe how and why territorial entities have decided to jump on the 'brandwagon'. It relates the trend of location branding with some strands of constructivist thinking and explores the possible consequences for the study of nationalism and democracy. In this, it sketches the outlines of a potential new research agenda.

The Ethics of Accounting: The Search for American Soldiers Missing in Vietnam Thomas Hawley

This paper explores the ethical implications of the United States' ongoing search for the bodies of 1,907 servicemen unaccounted-for in Southeast Asia as a result of the Vietnam War. The essay begins by critically engaging the interpretive commitments of the accounting effort to reveal the various means by which the search secures legitimacy. This engagement enables a reassessment of the United States' insistence upon Vietnam's responsibility to account for missing Americans as a humanitarian gesture, a circumstance all the more important given the nearly 300,000 Vietnamese also missing from the war. Through the work of Emmanuel Lévinas, David Campbell, and Michael Shapiro, the essay proposes an ethical relation which not only foregrounds the Vietnamese as the basis of reflection but also suggests new interpretive possibilities concerning the bodies of absent servicemen.

Toward Cooperative Security?International Integration and the Construction of Security in Estonia Merje Kuus

This article investigates how the notion of security is used in Estonia both to legitimise and delegitimise international integration. It outlines the assumptions, claims and modes of analysis that underpin security narratives, specifying what are constructed as threats to Estonia and what are framed as appropriate countermeasures to these threats. The article scrutinises in particular whether this discourse is undergoing a transformation from exclusive confrontational to inclusive cooperative conceptualisations. I argue that a shift has occurred from military definitions of security to those articulated in terms of culture and values, but that this cultural definition works not against but in tandem with the binary oppositions of inside/outside and us/them. The transition has been not from exclusive to inclusive operationalisations of security but from exclusions based on the notion of military threat to those invoking culture and values. This diffuse cultural discourse enables the selective deployment of divergent arguments to different audiences while maintaining the familiar underlying dichotomies

The Actuality of Imperialism Alex Callinicos

Hardt and Negri's Empire is to welcomed for, among other things, introducing a distinctive Marxist voice into the debate about globalisation, but it is seriously weakened by its claim that interstate conflict is being supplanted by the impersonal, decentred network of Empire. Tarak Barkawi and Mark Laffey in 'Retrieving the Imperial' rightly criticise the apologetic tendencies in Hardt and Negri's analysis, though they argue that International Relations as a discipline fails sufficiently to attend the imperial, conceived as a transnational dimension of domination and competition. The point is well-taken, but they are mistaken in claiming that an American-dominated 'international state' is in process of constitution. The world of imperialism, as it was portrayed by Lenin and Bukharin during the First World War - an anarchic struggle of unequal rivals - still exists, with the United States as first among unequals.

Post-Imperial and Quasi-Imperial: State and Empire in the Global Era Martin Shaw

Tarak Barkawi and Mark Laffey highlight an emerging consensus that 'empire' is a neglected category of International Relations (IR), indeed of the social sciences. However, while the two authors are largely correct in their critique of Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri's Empire, this paper identifies limitations in their own argument. It develops a broader conception of the relevance of empire to contemporary IR than that of continuities in American power. It examines the scope of the concept and the transformations and reconstitutions of imperial forms in recent modern history. The paper argues that we must take seriously the post-imperial character of contemporary American and Western power, and recognise a much wider range of contemporary quasi-imperial forms. Its central argument is that imperial power relations are a common feature of many non-Western states, considered 'Westphalian' nation-states or 'post-colonial' states in previous IR classifications of contemporary statehood.

On the Immanence/Imminence of Empire R.B.J. Walker

Barkawi and Laffey engage with Hardt and Negri's Empire as a reminder of what an institutionalised Anglo-American tradition of international relations theory misses or misconstrues when it focuses on the logic of the modern states system. Like Barkawi and Laffey, I am unpersuaded by the claim that 'a global order, a new logic and structure of rule - in short, a new form of sovereignty' has emerged. However, Barkawi and Laffey avoid engaging with the primary theoretical moves enabling this claim. These moves connect a claim about immanence in the philosophical struggles of early-European modernity with a claim about the imminence of a new form of political order arising from a process of internalisation of the interstate system. It is because this relationship is not placed under suspicion that Hardt and Negri over-interpret many important observations within an updated but conventional, and unsatisfactory, account of a universalising history.

Moral Principles and Political Institutions: Perspectives on Ethics and International Affairs Antonio Franceschet