New books

from members of the Department of International Relations

Below are some recent books from members of the Department.

You can also see a full list of publications from the Department at LSE Research Online.




Group Politics in UN Multilateralism
(Brill, 2020)
Edited by Katie Laatikainen and Karen E Smith

This book provides a new perspective on diplomacy and negotiations at the United Nations. Very few states ‘act individually’ at the UN; instead they often work within groups such as the Africa Group, the European Union or the Arab League. States use groups to put forward principled positions in an attempt to influence a wider audience and thus legitimize desired outcomes.

This book also shows that groups are not static: new groups emerge in multilateral negotiations on issues such as climate, security and human rights. At any given moment, UN multilateralism is shaped by long-standing group dynamics as well as shifting, ad-hoc groupings. These intergroup dynamics are key to understanding diplomatic practice at the UN.

This books has been awarded the Academic Council on the UN System Biennial Book Award for 2020.



Sensible Politics: Visualizing International Relations
(Oxford University Press, 2020)
by William A Callahan

In this book William Callahanuses his expertise in theory and filmmaking to explore not only what visuals mean, but also how visuals can viscerally move and connect us in "affective communities of sense." The book's rich analysis of visual images (photographs, film, art) and visual artifacts (maps, veils, walls, gardens, cyberspace) shows how critical scholarship needs to push beyond issues of identity and security to appreciate the creative politics of social-ordering and world-ordering. 





Anatomies of Revolution

(Cambridge University Press, 2019)
by George Lawson

This book offers a novel account of how revolutions begin, unfold and end. By combining insights from international relations, sociology, and global history, it outlines the benefits of a 'global historical sociology' of revolutionary change, one in which international processes take centre stage. Featuring a wide range of cases from across modern world history, this is a comprehensive account of one of the world's most important processes.

This book has been awarded the 2020 Hedley Bull Prize in International Relations. The jury called it a "nuanced and lively account of the history and theory of revolutions, introducing important and surprising comparisons across time and historical space."



Resisting Militarism: Direct Action and the Politics of Subversion
(Edinburgh University Press, 2019)
by Chris Rossdale

In the past 15 years, anti-militarist activists in the UK have auctioned off a tank outside an arms fair, superglued themselves to Lockheed Martin’s central London offices and stopped a battleship with a canoe. They have also challenged militarism on an everyday level in many other ways. This book tells the story of their resistance. It explores why anti-militarists take part in such actions, considers the politics of different tactics and examines the tensions and debates within the movement.



The Wealth Effect: how the great expectations of the middle class have changed the politics of banking crises
(Cambridge University Press, 2019)
by Jeffrey Chwieroth and Andrew Walter

The politics of major banking crises has been transformed since the nineteenth century. Analyzing extensive historical and contemporary evidence, Chwieroth and Walter demonstrate that the rising wealth of the middle class has generated 'great expectations' among voters that the government is responsible for the protection of this wealth.



Understanding International Relations (5th edition)
(Red Globe Press, 2019)
by Chris Brown

The fifth edition of this bestselling textbook offers a comprehensive and engaging introduction to International Relations and has been fully updated to cover the dramatic changes in recent world politics. Written in the author’s unique and engaging style, the text explores everything from foreign policy and security to global governance and the global economy, to show how the theories and concepts Brown outlines are the only way to make sense of contemporary issues and events.

Read his blog post



The Rise of the Civilizational State
(Polity, 2019)
by Christopher Coker

Christopher Coker looks in-depth at two countries that now claim the title of civilizational state: Xi Jinping’s China and Vladimir Putin's Russia. He also discusses the Islamic caliphate, a virtual and aspirational civilizational state that is unlikely to fade despite the recent setbacks suffered by Isis. The civilizational state, he contends, is an idea whose time has come. 

Listen to or download the podcast from the book launch.

FT review



The Politics of International Political Theory: Reflections on the works of Chris Brown

(Palgrave, 2019)
edited by Mathias Albert, Anthony J Lang Jr

The book assesses the impact of the work of the LSE International Relations Department's Professor Chris Brown in the field of International Political Theory. Contributions to the volume engage with general issues of IPT, underlying questions such as the use and role of practical reasoning and problems regarding the legitimacy of war and violence. They explore questions that pertain to human rights, morality, and ethics, and generally projects for devising a ‘better’ world.[!--End--]





New directions in Africa-China Studies 

(Routledge, 2019)
by Chris Alden & Daniel Large (Eds)

Interest in China and Africa is growing exponentially. Taking a step back from the ‘events-driven’ reactions characterizing much coverage, this timely book reflects more deeply on questions concerning how this subject has been, is being and can be studied.



Social Closure and International Society: Status Groups from the Family of Civilised Nations to the G20
(Routledge, 2018)
by Tristen Naylor

Laying the foundations of a theory of ‘international social closure’ this book examines how actors compete for a seat at the table in the management of international society and how that competition stratifies the international domain.



Strong NGOs and Weak States: Pursuing Gender Justice in the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa
(Cambridge University Press, 2018)
by Milli Lake

Over the past decade, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) and South Africa have attracted global attention for high rates of sexual and gender-based violence. 

Lake shows that state fragility in DR Congo has created openings for human rights nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to influence legal processes in ways that have proved impossible in countries like South Africa, where the state is stronger. Yet exploiting opportunities presented by state fragility to pursue narrow human rights goals invites a host of new challenges.

This book documents the promises and pitfalls of human rights and rule of law advocacy undertaken by NGOs in strong and weak states alike.



Western Dominance in International Relations? The Internationaliation of IR in Brazil and India
(Routledge, 2018)
by Audrey Alejandro

This volume offers a counter-intuitive and original contribution to the understanding of the global circulation of knowledge. In contrast with the literature, it argues that the internationalisation of social sciences in the designated 'Global South' is not conditioned by the existence of a presumably 'Western dominance'. Indeed, though discriminative practices such as Eurocentrism and gate-keeping practices exist, their existence does not lead to a unipolar structuration of IR internationalisation around ‘the West’.

Based on these empirical results, this book reflexively questions the role of critique in the (re)production of the social and political order. Paradoxically, the anti-Eurocentric critical discourses reproduce the very Eurocentrism they criticise. This book offers methodological support to address this paradox by demonstrating how one can use discourse analysis and reflexivity to produce innovative results and decenter oneself from the vision of the world one has been socialised into.



Making the Arab World: Nasser, Qutb, and the Clash That Shaped the Middle East
(Princeton University Press 2018)
by Fawaz A Gerges

How the conflict between political Islamists and secular-leaning nationalists has shaped the history of the modern Middle East.

In Making the Arab World, Fawaz Gerges, one of the world’s leading authorities on the Middle East, tells how the clash between pan-Arab nationalism and pan-Islamism has shaped the history of the region from the 1920s to the present.

Read a review in Marginalia Los Angeles Review of Books

Read a review in Middle East Journal

Read a review in Middle East Policy Council Journal

Read a review in Foreign Affairs

Read a review in The Times

Read a review in Arab News

Read a review in Arab Weekly

Read an excerpt in The Daily Beast

Read an interview in Jadaliyya

Read a review in Reading Religion

Best history books of 2018 from Open Letters Review



The Remnants of the Rechtsstaat: an ethnography of Nazi Law
(Oxford University Press 2018)
by Jens Meierhenrich

A study of the legal origins of dictatorship, this volume theorises the idea of an "authoritarian rule of law" and provides a corrective to conventional wisdom about the law of the "Third Reich".  It also offers an intellectual history of Ernst Fraenkel's republished classic The Dual State (1941), restoring to its rightful prominence an important work of intellectual resistance to Nazi dictatorship, and places the case of Nazi Germany in a comparative perspective and sheds light on 21st-century transitions to authoritarian rule.



EU Security Strategies: Extending the EU System of Security Governance
(Routledge 2018)
by Spyros Economides, James Sperling (eds)

This volume offers a coherence analysis of the European Union's security strategies within a comparative framework.  It will be of great interest to students of EU policy, foreign policy, security studies and IR.



China and Africa: building peace and security on the continent
(Palgrave 2017)
by Chris Alden, Abiodun Alao, Zhang Chun and Laura Barber (eds)

This book investigates the expanding involvement of China in security cooperation in Africa. Drawing on leading and emerging scholars in the field, the volume uses a combination of analytical insights and case studies to unpack the complexity of security challenges confronting China and the continent. It interrogates how security considerations impact upon the growing economic and social links China has developed with African states.



Mozambique and Brazil: forging new partnerships or developing dependency?
(Fahana 2017)
by Chris Alden, Sergio Chichava, and Ana Cristina Alves (eds)

This book critically investigates the expanding involvement of a leading emerging power, Brazil, in one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, Mozambique. It focuses on the dynamics of Brazilian development assistance, its flagship engagement in Mozambique’s agricultural and resource sector and the burgeoning social ties that bind them together. There is an emerging belief that the two countries are on the path to forging a new development partnership. However, there is growing evidence that the conduct of Brazilian firms and the policies promoted by Brazilian development assistance projects are generating negative fallout within local communities and among local environmental activists.



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.



‘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.



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. 

Watch interview



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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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