Home > Department of International Relations > Research > Staff Publications: new books

Staff Publications: new books

Below are some recent books from members of the Department.
There is also a list of recent articles and chapters

Future War
Christopher Coker
(Polity Press 2015)

Will tomorrow's wars be dominated by autonomous drones, land robots and warriors wired into a cybernetic network which can read their thoughts? Will war be fought with greater or lesser humanity? Will it be played out in cyberspace and further afield in Low Earth Orbit? Or will it be fought more intensely still in the sprawling cities of the developing world, the grim black holes of social exclusion on our increasingly unequal planet? Will the Great Powers reinvent conflict between themselves or is war destined to become much 'smaller' both in terms of its actors and the beliefs for which they will be willing to kill?

In this illuminating new book Christopher Coker takes us on an incredible journey into the future of warfare. Focusing on contemporary trends that are changing the nature and dynamics of armed conflict, he shows how conflict will continue to evolve in ways that are unlikely to render our century any less bloody than the last. With insights from philosophy, cutting-edge scientific research and popular culture, Future War is a compelling and thought-provoking meditation on the shape of war to come.


The Company States Keep: International Economic Organizations and Investor Perceptions
Julia Gray
(Cambridge University Press 2013)

This book argues that investor risk in emerging markets hinges on the company a country keeps. When a country signs on to an economic agreement with states that are widely known to be stable, it looks less risky. Conversely, when a country joins a group with more unstable members, it looks more risky. Investors use the company a country keeps as a heuristic in evaluating that country's willingness to honour its sovereign debt obligations. This has important implications for the study of international cooperation as well as of sovereign risk and credibility at the domestic level.

Winner of the 2013 Lepgold Prize, Mortara Center for International Studies, Georgetown University


Diplomacy and the Making of World Politics
Edited by Ole Jacob Sending, Vincent Pouliot and Iver B. Neumann
(Cambridge Studies in International Relations
Cambridge University Press 2015)

This book examines world politics through the lens of diplomatic practice. It argues that many global phenomena of our time, from the making of international law to the constitution of international public power, through humanitarianism and the maintenance of global hierarchies, are made possible and shaped by evolving forms of diplomacy. The study of diplomacy is largely dominated by firsthand accounts and historical treaties, with little effort at theoretical discussion. This book shows how diplomatic studies can benefit from more explicit theorizing, and argues that the study of world politics should pay more attention to what goes on in the diplomatic 'engine room' of international politics.


Legitimate Targets? Social Construction, International Law and US Bombing
Janina Dill
(Cambridge Studies in International Relations
Cambridge University Press 2014)

Based on an innovative theory of international law, Janina Dill's book investigates the effectiveness of international humanitarian law (IHL) in regulating the conduct of warfare. Through a comprehensive examination of the IHL defining a legitimate target of attack, Dill reveals a controversy among legal and military professionals about the 'logic' according to which belligerents ought to balance humanitarian and military imperatives: the logics of sufficiency or efficiency. Law prescribes the former, but increased recourse to international law in US air warfare has led to targeting in accordance with the logic of efficiency. The logic of sufficiency is morally less problematic, yet neither logic satisfies contemporary expectations of effective IHL or legitimate warfare. Those expectations demand that hostilities follow a logic of liability, which proves impracticable. This book proposes changes to international law, but concludes that according to widely shared normative beliefs, on the twenty-first-century battlefield there are no truly legitimate targets.


Contentious Politics in the Middle East
Popular Resistance and Marginalized Activism beyond the Arab Uprisings
(Palgrave Macmillan 2015)
Edited by Fawaz A. Gerges

While the Arab people took center stage in the 'Arab Spring' protests, academic studies focus on state structure, regime nature, militaries, and external powers to understand popular uprisings in the Middle East. Contentious Politics in the Middle East redresses a gap in focus as it analyzes the complexities of popular agency through the framework of contentious politics theory, without neglecting the negotiations between the people and structural factors. The book's chapters apply familiar questions raised by theorists to the under-researched case study of the Middle East after the uprisings.

Edited by Fawaz A. Gerges and featuring insights from top scholars, this collection seeks to answer these important questions as it advances contentious politics theory.


Evaluating transitional justice: accountability and peacebuilding in post-conflict Sierra Leone
(Palgrave Macmillan, 2015)
Edited by Kirsten Ainley, Rebekka Friedman and Christopher Mahony

Demonstrating groundbreaking analysis, this is the first major study to evaluate the transitional justice programme in Sierra Leone. Rather than focusing on a single mechanism, the authors examine how the Special Court, Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), local justice initiatives and reparations programme interacted. Contributors to the book include the Prosecutor of the Special Court and one of the Commissioners from the TRC, alongside a range of experts on transitional justice, on international law and on Sierra Leone. The authors consider the political and normative drivers of transitional justice and the lessons that the Sierra Leone programme stands to offer other post-conflict situations. The importance of long-term planning, local partnership and the management of the politics and trade-offs for future transitional justice programmes cannot be underestimated. This edited volume makes a significant contribution to the field by demonstrating how contextual knowledge should be used alongside normative standards when evaluating transitional justice.


The Global Transformation: History, Modernity and the Making of International Relations
(Cambridge University Press, 2015)
Barry Buzan and George Lawson

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.

Read the symposium on the book here.


International Society, Global Polity: An Introduction to International Political Theory
(Sage, 2014)
Chris Brown

This book provides an overview of the current state of the art in International Political Theory (IPT). It offers a coherent account of the field of IPT, placing both traditional and modern work in a clear and logical framework.

The text moves from conventional accounts of the society of states to non-state-centric understandings of global politics. The first part covers international law, war, human rights and humanitarianism. The second part looks at the new human rights regime, the responsibility to protect, the ethics of war and global justice.

Each chapter includes annotated reading lists, highlighting directions you can take to further your reading.

International Society, Global Polity is perfect for students taking courses on International Political Theory, International Theory, Global Ethics and Global Justice.


Cutting the Gordian Knot of Economic Reform: When and How International Institutions Help
(Oxford University Press, 2014)
Leonardo Baccini and Johannes Urpelainen

Why do leaders of countries opt to join international institutions that constrain their freedom to enact domestic policy? In this book, Leonardo Baccini and Johannes Urpelainen address this enduring question of international relations by looking at liberal economic reforms.

Baccini and Urpelainen argue that international institutions help to cut this Gordian knot by allowing leaders to credibly commit to liberal policies while also creating domestic political support for reform. The book takes a comparative look at developing countries that have engaged in treaties with the US and EU to develop a full theory of when and how leaders enter into international institutions to effect economic reform. The book employs a mixed-method approach combining quantitative analysis and four case studies.

Cutting the Gordian Knot of Economic Reform is the first work to provide a theory on the design of international institutions, the circumstances that cause leaders to form international institutions, and the effects of international institutions on economic reform.


Credit Ratings and Sovereign Debt: The Political Economy of Creditworthiness through Risk and Uncertainty
(Palgrave Macmillan, 2014)
Bartholomew Paudyn

At the heart of the struggle to constitute the 'politics of limits' – the parameters defining the budgetary realities facing governments – is the growing antagonistic relationship between the imperatives of private (financial) markets and public democracies. Through a new analytical instrumentality, this interdisciplinary account problematizes credit ratings and the problem of sovereign debt to show how the authoritative knowledge underpinning the political economy of creditworthiness is constructed through the deployment of the discursive practices of risk and uncertainty. Unpacking the 'black-box' of sovereign ratings, as a socio-technical device of control and governmentality, we better understand how their authoritative capacity/utility are constituted through their performative effects, which create the conditions and subjectivities that serve to validate and regenerate a disinflationary fiscal normality/rectitude. Political judgment is censured through depoliticizing risk techniques; as a (fallacious) analytics of ratings helps elevate quantitative expertise and relegates competing, qualitative approaches in the design of a neoliberal politics of limits. This exacerbates the asymmetry between epistocracy and democracy, which prompts attempts to reclaim lost fiscal sovereignty.


European Union Foreign Policy in a Changing World, 3rd Edition
(Polity, 2014)
Karen E Smith

The European Union finds itself at a critical juncture; not only has the deepening crisis in the eurozone weakened the EU’s internal structure, it has impacted significantly on its international image and external relations. The third edition of European Union Foreign Policy in a Changing World offers a clear and detailed analysis of the complexities and challenges of contemporary European foreign policy-making.

This accessible and thoroughly researched book will be a valuable resource for undergraduate and postgraduate students of European politics, foreign policy analysis, international relations and related disciplines.


China and Mozambique: From Comrades to Capitalists
(Jacana, 2014)
Edited by Chris Alden and Sergio Chichava

The wide range of reactions to greater Chinese involvement across Africa has varied from enthusiastic embrace by elites to caution from businesses, trade unions and civil society, and even hostility from some local communities. As a once-modest presence in Africa, China has rapidly grown to become one of Africa's top trading partners. Two-way trade surged from just over US$10 billion in 2000 to nearly US$200 billion in 2012.

China and Mozambique moves beyond the conventions of general surveys on China-Africa relations to explore real content and experiences of China's relationship with Mozambique. This book unpacks the complex and sometimes contradictory policies of this relationship, looking at Chinese investment in the Mozambican banking sector and at elite business alliances in agriculture and infrastructure.

A fuller sense of bilateral relations is offered through the focus on this emblematic case; it drills down into the heart of a relationship

For all orders, email orders@onthedot.co.za  


Men at War: What Fiction Tells Us About Conflict, From the Iliad to Catch-22
(Hurst, 2014)
Christopher Coker

Since Achilles first stormed into our imagination, literature has introduced its readers to truly unforgettable martial characters. In Men at War Christopher Coker discusses some of the most famous of these fictional creations and their impact on our understanding of war and masculinity. Grouped into five archetypes—warriors, heroes, villains, survivors and victims—these characters range across 3000 years of history, through epic poems, the modern novel and one of the twentieth century’s most famous film scripts.

Great authors like Homer and Tolstoy reveal to us aspects of reality invisible except through a literary lens, while fictional characters such as Achilles, Falstaff, Robert Jordan and Jack Aubrey are not just larger than life, they are life’s largeness; and this is why we seek them out. Although the Greeks knew that the lovers, wives and mothers of soldiers are the chief victims of battle, for combatants war is a masculine pursuit. Each of Coker’s chapters explores what fiction tells us about war’s hold on the imagination of young men and the way it makes—and breaks—them. War’s existential appeal is also perhaps best conveyed in fictional accounts, and this too is scrutinised. 

Five Star review by Antony Beevor in Sunday Telegraph 9 March 2014


Can War be Eliminated?
(Polity, 2014)
Christopher Coker

Throughout history, war seems to have had an iron grip on humanity. In this short book, internationally renowned philosopher of war, Christopher Coker, challenges the view that war is an idea that we can cash in for an even better one - peace. War, he argues, is central to the human condition; it is part of the evolutionary inheritance which has allowed us to survive and thrive. New technologies and new geopolitical battles may transform the face and purpose of war in the 21st century, but our capacity for war remains undiminished. The inconvenient truth is that we will not see the end of war until it exhausts its own evolutionary possibilities.


The New Middle East: Protest and Revolution in the Arab World
(Cambridge University Press, 2014)
Edited by Fawaz A Gerges

This book is the first comprehensive and interdisciplinary study to examine the causes, drivers, and effects of the events of the Arab Spring on the internal, regional, and international politics of the Middle East and North Africa. Gerges and his team of leading scholars investigate specific conditions, but also highlight broader connections between individual case studies and systemic conditions throughout the Arab world, which include the crisis of political authority, the failure of economic development, and new genres of mobilisation and activism, especially communication technology and youth movements. Last but not least, they also reflect on the prospects for democratic change in individual states and in the region as a whole.



Classics of International Relations: Essays in Criticism and Appreciation
(Routledge, 2013)
Edited by Henrik Bliddal, Casper Sylvest and Peter Wilson

This book introduces, contextualises and assesses 24 of the most important works on international relations of the last 100 years. Providing an indispensable guide for all students of IR theory, it asks why are these works considered classics? Is their status deserved? Will it endure? It takes as its starting point Norman Angell’s best-selling The Great Illusion (1909) and concludes with Daniel Deudney’s award winning Bounding Power (2006). The volume does not ignore established classics such as Morgenthau’s Politics Among Nations and Waltz’s Theory of International Politics, but seeks to expand the ‘IR canon’ beyond its core realist and liberal texts. It thus considers emerging classics such as Linklater’s critical sociology of moral boundaries, Men and Citizens in the Theory of International Relations, and Enloe’s pioneering gender analysis, Bananas, Beaches and Bases. It also innovatively considers certain ‘alternative format’ classics such as Kubrick’s satire on the nuclear arms race, Dr Strangelove, and Errol Morris’s powerful documentary on war and US foreign policy, The Fog of War.

With an international cast of contributors, many of them leading authorities on their subject, Classics of International Relations will become a standard reference for all those wishing to make sense of a rapidly developing and diversifying field.


International Relations since 1945: A Global History
(Oxford University Press, 2nd ed, 2013)
John W Young and John Kent

International Relations since 1945 offers undergraduate students a comprehensive and accessible introduction to global political history since World War Ii.

The new edition is comprehensively updated to cover the period between 2001 and 2012. Discussing the World Trade Center attacks and concluding with the run up to the 2012 US presidential elections, a new final section outlines broad developments including the changing world order and the global financial crises. Three new chapters look at terrorism, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the rise of major new powers including China.

Student learning is supported by a range of helpful learning features including biographies of key figures and chronologies of events.


The Handbook of Global Climate and Environment Policy
(Wiley-Blackwell, 2013)
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.


Diplomatic Sites: A Critical Enquiry
(Hurst Publishers, 2013)
Iver B Neumann

Although diplomacy increasingly takes place in non-traditional settings that are increasingly non-Western, our debates about diplomacy still focus on traditional points of contact such as the conference table, the ministerial office and the press conference. This book is framed as a discussion on whether increasing globalisation and the rise of powers such as China, India and Brazil will precipitate a crisis in diplomacy; it also tackles the problem of diplomatic Eurocentrism head on.

The author, who has broad working experience of diplomacy, reflects on sites that range from the dining table — a quotidian and elementary meeting place where all kinds of business is settled amid a variety of culturally specific but little-known practices — via the civil-war interstices where diplomats from third parties try to facilitate and mediate conflict, to grand diplomatic extravaganzas, the object of which is to overwhelm the other party.

In a media age, popular understanding of diplomacy is a force to be reckoned with, hence the book discusses how diplomacy is represented in an almost wholly overlooked space, namely that of popular culture. The author concludes that, far from being in crisis, diplomatic activity is increasingly in evidence in a variety of sites. Rather than being a dying art, in today's globalised world it positively thrives.


Warrior Geeks: How 21st Century Technology is Changing the Way we Fight and Think About War
(Hurst Publishers, 2013)
Christopher Coker

Warrior Geeks examines how technology is transforming the way we think about and fight war, taking three major changes that are driving this process: cybernetic technologies that are folding soldiers into a cybernetic system that will allow the military to read their thoughts and emotions and mould them accordingly; the coexistence of men and robots in the battle-spaces of tomorrow; and the extent to which we may be able to re-engineer warriors through pharmacological manipulation.

By referring back to the Greeks who defined the contours of war for us, Coker shows how we are in danger of losing touch with our humanity – the name we give not only to a species but the virtues we deem it to embody. The journey from Greeks to Geeks may be a painful one. War can only be rendered more humane if we stay in touch with the ancestors, yet unfortunately we are planning to subcontract our ethical choices to machines. In revaluing technology, are we devaluing our humanity, or the post-human condition, changing our subjectivity and thus the existential dimension of war by changing our relationship with technology both functionally and performatively?