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Argument and Change in World Politics

Argument and Change in World Politics
Ethics, Decolonization, and Humanitarian Intervention


Award Winner

Part of Cambridge Studies in International Relations

  • Date Published: July 2002
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521002790

£ 37.99

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About the Authors
  • Arguments have consequences in world politics that are as real as the military forces of states or the balance of power among them. Neta Crawford proposes a theory of argument in world politics which focuses on the role of ethical arguments in fostering changes in long-standing practices. She examines five hundred years of history, analyzing the role of ethical arguments in colonialism, the abolition of slavery and forced labour, and decolonization. Pointing out that decolonization is the biggest change in world politics in the last five hundred years, the author examines ethical arguments from the sixteenth century justifying Spanish conquest of the Americas, and from the twentieth century over the fate of Southern Africa. The book also offers a prescriptive analysis of how ethical arguments could be deployed to deal with the problem of humanitarian intervention. Co-winner of the APSA Jervis-Schroeder Prize for the best book on international history and politics.

    • Suggests that arguments have just as much impact on world politics as military forces and economic power
    • Offers a theory of how ethical argument has changed the world, using the example of the end of colonialism, the biggest change in world politics over the last 500 years
    • Uses her theory to look at the contemporary question of humanitarian intervention
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    • Co-winner of the APSA Jervis-Schroeder Prize for the best book on international history and politics

    Reviews & endorsements

    '… exceptionally rich, an impressive synthesis of numerous theoretical approaches and a compelling historical narrative.' International Affairs

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2002
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521002790
    • length: 490 pages
    • dimensions: 233 x 152 x 30 mm
    • weight: 0.76kg
    • contains: 2 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Argument, belief and culture
    2. Ethical argument and argument analysis
    3. Colonial arguments
    4. Decolonizing bodies: ending slavery and denormalizing forced labour
    5. Faces of humanitarianism, rivers of blood
    6. Sacred trust
    7. Self-determination
    8. Alternative explanations, counterfactuals and causation
    9. Poesis and praxis: toward ethical world politics.

  • Author

    Neta C. Crawford, Brown University, Rhode Island
    Neta Crawford is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is the co-editor (with Audie Klotz) of How Sanctions Work: Lessons from South Africa (1999), and author of Soviet Military Aircraft (1987), and a number of articles in leading journals.


    • Co-winner of the APSA Jervis-Schroeder Prize for the best book on international history and politics

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