News Update on International Politics Research: May – 2019

From Critique to Affirmation in International Relations

This article explores the ongoing shift in IR and beyond, where critical perspectives are increasingly adopting more affirmative dispositions. The starting point is that some successors to critical theories and deconstruction are becoming more appreciative of how entanglements of human and nonhuman populations have creative potential. That is, today critique ceases to be about contesting the inner contradictions or limits of a given order and instead embraces existing multiple assemblages and feedback loops as enabling forces. The article serves as an introduction to the Special Issue ‘Critique and Affirmation in IR’, in which authors reflect on the unforeseen trajectory of critiques and problematise the risks and shadows of affirmation. [1]

Publisher Correction: The English School: a new triad

In section “The English School loses” of the originally published article version, 12th article page, in the fourth and fifth paragraph the term “princes of Rome” was erroneously not replaced by “the Romans” and “the Romans’”. Furthermore the first sentence of the fifth paragraph should be “Hollis and Smith would view this as an inside story seeking to contribute to a dialogue […]”. The publisher would like to apologize to the author. [2]

Fostering liberty in international relations theory: the case of Ayn Rand

Freedom is one of the pivotal ideas within liberal political thought. All liberals aim to secure individual liberty, but they differ about the degree of freedom that is required for the ‘good life’, particularly in relation to the desired level of interference by the state through public services and taxation. The importance and relevance of this internal liberal debate is hardly acknowledged by theorists of international relations (IR). This has led to a one-sided, often erroneous portrayal of liberalism, despite its dominance in IR theory. Here, this issue will be elaborated through the first comprehensive analysis of the international political thought of Ayn Rand. An analysis of her ideas, put against the main common characteristics of current liberal theories of international relations, yields additional and new evidence for the existence of a ‘liberal knowledge gap in IR theory’. This clearly needs to be acknowledged and addressed by IR theorists to get a fuller comprehension of liberalism and international relations theory. [3]

Commitment failures are unlikely to undermine public support for the Paris agreement

Success of the 2015 Paris Agreement, which is founded on nationally determined contributions (NDCs), hinges on whether domestic support for international environmental agreements would be undermined if countries that are crucial to the global effort fail to reduce their emissions. Here we find that citizens in China (n = 3,000) and the United States (n = 3,007) have strong preferences over the design of international climate agreements and contributions of other countries to the global effort. However, contrary to what standard accounts of international politics would predict, a survey-embedded experiment in which respondents were randomly exposed to different information on other countries’ behaviour showed that information on other countries failing to reduce their emissions does not undermine support for how international agreements are designed. While other factors still make large emission cuts challenging, these results suggest that the Paris approach per se is not posing a problem.[4]

International Politics of Oil Monomania and Food Security: The Nigerian Case

Food security has assumed a prominent role in international politics not only for traditional state actors but also of giant multinationals ranging from large scale Western farming, agro-allied corporations to pharmaceuticals and global food supply and retail channels. This study seeks to examine Nigeria’s oil dependency and its negative effects on food security. It considers the impact of Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) in Nigeria as compared to Norway and other countries operating SWF. Data were generated using secondary sources. The paper argues that the continuous reliance of Nigeria on oil is largely associated with increased poverty rate resulting from boom burst cycle which accompanies it. It argues that in Nigeria, the SWF has not achieved the purpose for its adoption. Hence, amidst abundance, a high percentage of people living in oil exporting countries (especially Nigeria) tend to linger in poverty. The paper recommends, among others, that oil dependent countries like Nigeria should invest large oil proceeds to other sectors of the economy like agriculture, human resource training and development, and entrepreneurship. Also, good economic management of oil wealth using the SWF and sound fiscal policies are needed to achieve impressive standard of living in Nigeria.[5]


[1] Bargués-Pedreny, P., 2019. From Critique to Affirmation in International Relations. Global Society33(1), pp.1-11. (Web Link)

[2] Dunleavy, D., 2019. Publisher Correction: The English School: a new triad. International Politics56(1), pp.121-122. (Web Link)

[3] van de Haar, E., 2019. Fostering liberty in international relations theory: the case of Ayn Rand. International Politics, pp.1-16. (Web Link)

[4] Commitment failures are unlikely to undermine public support for the Paris agreement

Liam F. Beiser-McGrath & Thomas Bernauer

Nature Climate Change 9, 248–252 (2019) (Web Link)

[5] Eyo Etim, E., Joseph Ogbinyi Jr, O. and O. Duke, O. (2017) “International Politics of Oil Monomania and Food Security: The Nigerian Case”, Asian Research Journal of Arts & Social Sciences, 3(4), pp. 1-11. doi: 10.9734/ARJASS/2017/31631. (Web Link)


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