Conceptualizing the west in international relations by J. O'Hagan

By J. O'Hagan

West is an idea customary in diplomacy, yet we hardly examine what we suggest through the time period. Conceptions of and what the West is differ commonly. This ebook examines conceptions of the West drawn from writers from varied historic and highbrow contexts, revealing either fascinating parallels and issues of divergence. It additionally displays on implications of those assorted perceptions of the way we comprehend the position of the West, and its interactions with different civilizational identities.

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Wallerstein is interested in the impact the West has had on other members of the world system. Placing it at the core of the global 32 Conceptualizing the West in International Relations core–periphery structure, his analysis is, in a literal sense, Western-centric since he views the West as the core around which all other societies rotate. However, his perspective focuses on the West as an element of structure. His discussion of the ideas and norms that constitute the West focuses on their relation to the process of capitalist accumulation, which is the real heart of his structural framework.

The West in liberal theory Despite the fact that civilizational identities such as the West are not easily encompassed by the conceptual framework of most liberal international theorists, ‘the West’ and associated terms appear in the work of these scholars. For instance, Keohane and Nye (1977: 28) refer to the role of force in ‘East–West’ relations in their discussion of complex interdependence, as does Hoffmann in his discussion of liberal international theory (Hoffmann, 1987: 135). In these cases, the West implies the community of democratized and industrialized capitalist states in contrast to the community of communist states led by the Soviet Union.

While projecting a universalist theory, liberalism privileges the history, structure and traditions derived from Europe and the United States. In recent years, there has been an effort to reformulate liberal International Relations theory into a more rigorous, social science paradigm. This is best demonstrated in the work of Andrew Moravcsik (1997). Moravcsik has sought to articulate a theory that he argues is prior to, and more fundamental than, alternative paradigms in that it sees the most significant force in world politics as the configuration of state preferences.

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