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War, Religion and Empire
The Transformation of International Orders

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Part of Cambridge Studies in International Relations

  • Date Published: January 2011
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521122092

$ 42.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • What are international orders, how are they destroyed, and how can they be defended in the face of violent challenges? Advancing an innovative realist-constructivist account of international order, Andrew Phillips addresses each of these questions in War, Religion and Empire. Phillips argues that international orders rely equally on shared visions of the good and accepted practices of organized violence to cultivate cooperation and manage conflict between political communities. Considering medieval Christendom's collapse and the East Asian Sinosphere's destruction as primary cases, he further argues that international orders are destroyed as a result of legitimation crises punctuated by the disintegration of prevailing social imaginaries, the break-up of empires, and the rise of disruptive military innovations. He concludes by considering contemporary threats to world order, and the responses that must be taken in the coming decades if a broadly liberal international order is to survive.

    • A comprehensive account of the ways in which religious radicalism, crises of empire and revolutionary military innovations have driven crises in world politics from the Reformation to the 'war on terror'
    • Contextualizes the Western European experience by comparing and contrasting it with the crises of international order that have punctuated the state system's development and expansion in East Asia and the Islamic world
    • Synthesizes insights from two polarized theoretical traditions - realism and constructivism - in accounting for international orders' origins, evolution, and transformation
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    • Honourable Mention, 2013 Francesco Guiccardini Prize, Historical International Relations Section (HIST), International Studies Association

    Reviews & endorsements

    "This extraordinary conceptual and historical analysis of changes in international orders analyzes the threats that Islamist radicalism and transnational terrorism pose for the present American-centered order through two historical lenses: the collapse of Latin Christendom under the impact of the Reformation and a revolution in war fighting, and the liquidation of the Sinosphere brought about by dynastic decay, millenarian rebellions, and the encroachment of Western imperial expansion. Phillips is theoretically bold and incisive and succeeds in escaping the Western-centric perspective that typifies most contemporary international relations theory. If the second-hands of history, our daily news and pundits, are condemned to tell the wrong time, here is a book for the ages that comes as close to getting things right as is humanly possible. This is a triumph of superior scholarship."
    Peter J. Katzenstein, Walter S. Carpenter, Jr, Professor of International Studies, Cornell University

    "A rich and novel constructivist analysis of the transformation of international order in both early modern Europe and China. Phillips shows empirically that violence is as much a part of constitutive order as norms."
    Henry R. Nau, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University

    "… Phillips provides us with an invaluable analytical framework for thinking about the origin, operation, decay and ultimate demise of international orders. War, Religion and Empire is a welcome addition to the constructivist IR literature and we highly recommend it to scholars interested in IR theory, constructivism, comparative-historical approaches to IR and the jihadist challenge to the contemporary international order. We also recommend it to faculty teaching undergraduate IR courses. In this context, War, Religion and Empire has the potential to serve as a challenging but accessible introduction to debates about international order/transformation generally, and to constructivist approaches to international order more specifically."
    Andrew A. Latham and Jake Waxman, Macalester College, Cambridge Review of International Affairs

    "This is a model study of how international orders can collapse very quickly when they can no longer defend themselves against 'revolutionary violence'. Eschewing the banal divisions between Realism and constructivism, Andrew Phillips favours an analytically eclectic approach to the study of complex social phenomena."
    Christopher Coker, London School of Economics and Political Science, International Affairs

    "War, Religion and Empire is an impressively wide-ranging study that should provoke discussion, and debate about the relationship between realismand constructivism, and about how a synthesis of the two can contribute to the historical sociology of international relations. It is a tribute to its breadth that it will challenge many readers to reflect on the conceptual frameworks that can be used to explain the collapse of earlier international orders. No less important is the invitation to reflect on the potentials for conflict that revolve around struggles over legitimacy in the contemporary system of states, and to consider the principles that can best underpin fragile global arrangements."
    Andrew Linklater, Aberystwyth University, Global Change, Peace and Security

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2011
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521122092
    • length: 382 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 155 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.62kg
    • contains: 5 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. What are international orders?
    2. Accounting for the transformation of international orders
    3. The origins, constitution and decay of Latin Christendom
    4. The collapse of Latin Christendom
    5. Anarchy without society: Europe after Christendom and before sovereignty
    6. The origins, constitution and decay of the sinosphere
    7. Heavenly kingdom, imperial nemesis: barbarians, martyrs and the collapse of the sinosphere
    8. Into the abyss: civilization, barbarism and the end of the sinosphere
    9. The great disorder and the birth of the East Asian sovereign state system
    10. The Jihadist terrorist challenge to the global state system

  • Author

    Andrew Phillips, Australian National University, Canberra
    Andrew Phillips is a Research Fellow in the Department of International Relations at the Australian National University. His research interests focus on the evolution of the global state system and the challenges that new security threats pose to the contemporary world order.


    • Honourable Mention, 2013 Francesco Guiccardini Prize, Historical International Relations Section (HIST), International Studies Association

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