Social Standards of Self-Restraint in World Politics

Andrew Linklater


The process sociologist, Norbert Elias (2012:89) maintained that Caxton’s comment in his fifteenth century treatise on courtesy that ‘things that were once permitted are now forbidden’ could stand as the ‘motto’ for the European civilizing process that was to come. The main course of development which would revolve around the formation of modern states and the significant pacification of the relevant societies shaped different related spheres of social interaction. According to Elias, they included the standards that governed bodily functions, changes in table manners and (of particular importance for the present discussion) shifts in emotional responses to cruelty and violence. His writings were less consistent on the subject of whether actions that were once permitted in relations between states have become forbidden in the most recent phase of the modern states-system. The main objective of the following discussion is to synthesise elements of process sociology and the English School in order to determine whether the current era is distinctive if not unique. The paper begins with a brief discussion of Elias’s reflections on international relations.

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Documenting Karl Marx: Rethinking Marx Ideas on the Commodity within a Documentary

Ulrich Hamenstädt


Imagine a market where you have a high misallocation of commodities; this market could be the global food market. More than 150 years ago Karl Marx asked the question, why the classical economy of his time had such problems to properly explain the reasons for dysfunctional markets. The work of Marx and Engels turned the 20th century into a kind of stone quarry, where different ideological directions made use of the theory, and often misused it at the same time. This paper wants to introduce the reader to some of the core ideas of Marx’s ‘Capital’, and also illustrate how lectures – in the case of Marx – can utilise the popularisation of public media for teaching purposes. This paper introduces Marx’s idea of ‘commodity’ in the context of interviews from the popular Austrian documentary ‘We Feed the World’. By using the current global agriculture production as an example, the paper examines an urgent problem of global politics on the one hand. On the other hand, the paper aims to illustrate how the idea of joining Marx’s theory with an actual documentary can be used in order to introduce one of the core thinkers of political economy to undergraduate students.
Keywords: Karl Marx, Capital, Documentary, We feed the World, Teaching

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Saving ‘World Market Society’ from itself? Risk, the New Politics of Inequality and the Agents of World Market Society

Alex Nunn


Socio-economic inequality is now firmly on the international political agenda. In recent years the World Economic Forum, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, World Bank and International Monetary Fund have all produced publications lamenting increased inequality and its impact on political stability, the fragility of the international financial system and growth. This paper argues that this interest needs to be located in the emergence of an expanding ‘world market society’ (WMS) that these organisations are both representative of and have sought to promote. They are now also engaged in a complex process of identifying and seeking to manage systemic risks to WMS expansion, arising from the expansion process itself, with socio-economic inequality now seen as one of these. Several factors though suggest that their efforts may not be successful. These include the lack of capacity of international organisations to manage risk independently of their mainly state-scale allies and their inability to escape the objective of WMS expansion as they seek to manage risks to it. The paper argues therefore that there is an emergent New Global Politics of Inequality whose forlorn objective is to save world market society from itself.

Key Words: World Society; Inequality; Risk; International Organisation; World Market; International Monetary Fund; World Bank; Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development; World Economic Forum.

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The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the lessons from Eastern Central Europe for Middle East/North African Transition

Stuart Shields


This paper seeks to understand the role played by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in helping to consolidate the gains from the Arab Spring. There is little academic analysis of the EBRD in Eastern Central Europe’s (ECE) transition, let alone the Middle East/North Africa (MENA). Yet here is an institution in the vanguard of political economic change. The paper explores the mechanisms and strategies utilised by the EBRD to aid reforms in ECE, and then explores whether similar formulations can be uncovered in MENA by comparing the intellectual assistance to post-communist reformers in ECE with the current advice to MENA, in particular Egypt.

Key Words: EBRD, ECE, MENA, Gramsci, Neoliberalisation

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Contrived Civilizations The Western Eurasian Mode of Hierarchies Production and the (Geo)Political Origins of Scientia

Gennaro Ascione


In this article I expose the idea that modernity is not only a distinctive era as historical sociology uses to think, neither only a discursive formation, as anti-foundational postcolonial critique assesses. It is rather a configuration of a Western Eurasian mode of hierarchies production with global projection that first emerged as a response to the cultural, political and geopolitical challenges that the reconfiguration of power in XIII century Mediterranean space posed to dominant strata of Latin Christianity. In order to explore the conjectural emergence and reconfiguration of this mode of hierarchies production, I reconstruct the nexus of continuity and discontinuity between modern science and late medieval Scientia.
Key Words: Modernity, Circulation of Knowledge, Eurocentrism, Scientific Revolution, Aristotelianism, Averroism

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