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International Security in Practice
The Politics of NATO-Russia Diplomacy

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Part of Cambridge Studies in International Relations

  • Date Published: March 2010
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521199162

$ 118.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • How do once bitter enemies move beyond entrenched rivalry at the diplomatic level? In one of the first attempts to apply practice theory to the study of International Relations, Vincent Pouliot builds on Pierre Bourdieu's sociology to devise a theory of practice of security communities and applies it to post-Cold War security relations between NATO and Russia. Based on dozens of interviews and a thorough analysis of recent history, Pouliot demonstrates that diplomacy has become a normal, though not a self-evident, practice between the two former enemies. He argues that this limited pacification is due to the intense symbolic power struggles that have plagued the relationship ever since NATO began its process of enlargement at the geographical and functional levels. So long as Russia and NATO do not cast each other in the roles that they actually play together, security community development is bound to remain limited.

    • Develops a new theory of security communities to explain how former enemies can become partners or even allies
    • Provides an original account of NATO-Russia diplomacy, throwing new light on an important dimension of contemporary international security
    • Explains the politics of post-Cold War Russian-Atlantic relations and offers a policy-relevant reflection on missed opportunities
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    • Winner of the 2011 CPSA Prize in International Relations

    Reviews & endorsements

    “Every decade, an International Relations book comes along that leaves a profound and lasting mark on the discipline. International Security in Practice suggests a paradigmatic new ‘logic of practicality,’ a methodological approach for empirically studying practices, and an innovative theory of practice of security communities. It also shows lucidly and effectively why NATO and Russia failed to constitute a security community after the Cold War, what was NATO's role in such failure, and what can still be practically done to ‘seduce’ Russia back into the communitarian mode of pursuing security. This brilliant book pushes the boundaries of IR theory forward – read it!”
    Emanuel Adler, Andrea and Charles Bronfman Chair of Israeli Studies, University of Toronto

    “Instead of abstract speculation, Vincent Pouliot delivers hands-on analysis. This fully-fledged Bourdieusian practice analysis is a significant contribution towards making International Relations a truly -social- science. Should be the next big thing in constructivist IR.”
    Iver B. Neumann, Director of Research, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs and Professor of Russian Studies, Oslo University

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2010
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521199162
    • length: 308 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.62kg
    • contains: 1 b/w illus. 6 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    Part I. Restoring the Practical Logic of Peace:
    2. The logic of practicality: a theory of practice of security communities
    3. A 'sobjective' methodology for the study of practicality
    Part II. The Symbolic Power Politics of NATO-Russia Diplomacy:
    4. The logic of practicality at the NATO-Russia council
    5. The early steps: NATO, Russia and the double enlargement, 1992–7
    6. The fallout: NATO and Russia from Kosovo to Georgia, 1998–2008
    7. Conclusion.

  • Author

    Vincent Pouliot, McGill University, Montréal
    Vincent Pouliot is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at McGill University, Montréal. His PhD, on which this book is based, was awarded the 2009 Vincent Lemieux Prize by the Canadian Political Science Association.


    • Winner of the 2011 CPSA Prize in International Relations
    • Awarded an Honorable Mention by the Lepgold Book Prize committee for best book on international relations published in 2010

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