The Dialectics of World Orders

Image: Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons New World Order Wendelin Jacober

Event details

IR Seminar Series

Date & time

Tuesday 02 May 2017


SDSC Reading Room, Hedley Bull Centre (130), corner of Garran Road and Liversidge Street, ANU
ANU Canberra


Professor Thomas Biersteker, Graduate Institute of International Development Studies, Geneva


Bell School

The Dialectics of World Orders manuscript, and the larger collaborative project out of which it emerged, has been long in the making. Begun at MIT in the late 1970s under the guidance of the late Hayward R. Alker, Jr. and four of his PhD graduate students at the time, Thomas Biersteker, Ijaz Gilani, Takashi Inoguchi, and Tahir Amin, the ambitious project set out to construct a framework for a genuinely global analysis of International Relations that would resonate with the experiences of individuals from different parts of the world and in different strata within them. The goal of a dialectical mode of analysis was two-fold: to accommodate the contradictions of seemingly incommensurable understandings that underlie so many of the conflicts in international relations; and by so doing, to create better political options for peaceful interaction between East and West then, as well as global North and South now. Offering a dialogical, interpretive approach rather than a teleological, positivist science, the project moves beyond classical marxism and neoliberalism, towards a less deterministic and more open-ended strategy for understanding and implementing global change.

Thomas Biersteker is Gasteyger Professor of International Security and Director of Policy Research and the Programme for the Study of International Governance at the Graduate Institute, Geneva. He previously directed the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University and has also taught at Yale University and the University of Southern California. He is the author/editor of ten books, including State Sovereignty as Social Construct (1996), The Emergence of Private Authority in Global Governance (2002), and Targeted Sanctions: The Impacts and Effectiveness of UN Action (2016). His current research focuses on targeted sanctions, transnational policy networks in global security governance, and the dialectics of world orders. He was the principal developer of SanctionsApp, a tool for mobile devices created in 2013 to increase access to information about targeted sanctions at the UN. He received his PhD and MS from MIT and his BA from the University of Chicago.

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