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International Order in Diversity
War, Trade and Rule in the Indian Ocean

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Part of Cambridge Studies in International Relations

  • Date Published: April 2015
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107446823

$ 29.99 (P)

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About the Authors
  • International relations scholars typically expect political communities to resemble one another the more they are exposed to pressures of war, economic competition and the spread of hegemonic legitimacy standards. However, historically it is heterogeneity, not homogeneity, that has most often defined international systems. Examining the Indian Ocean region - the centre of early modern globalization - Andrew Phillips and J. C. Sharman explain how diverse international systems can emerge and endure. Divergent preferences for terrestrial versus maritime conquest, congruent traditions of heteronomy and shared strategies of localization were factors which enabled diverse actors including the Portuguese Estado da India, Dutch and English company sovereigns and mighty Asian empires to co-exist for centuries without converging on a common institutional form. Debunking the presumed relationship between interaction and homogenization, this book radically revises conventional thinking on the evolution of international systems, while deepening our understanding of a historically crucial but critically understudied world region.

    • Explains the genesis, growth and stabilization of an international system comprised of diverse corporate, imperial and state actors
    • Provides a new account of European expansion in the Indian Ocean - correcting now discredited ideas about the success of European expansion in Asia in the early modern period - while providing a coherent and novel alternative theoretical account of the West's infiltration and eventual domination of the Indian Ocean region
    • The first book-length treatment of the Indian Ocean as an international system, which breaks new ground by both introducing the Indian Ocean to international relations scholars and political scientists, while also advancing a novel theoretical account of its historical evolution
    Read more


    • Co-Winner, 2017 Francesco Guicciardini Prize, Historical Relations Section, International studies Association

    Reviews & endorsements

    "This superb historical sociological exploration of the Indian Ocean system in effect provides a compelling and vitally important double-provincialisation of Westphalia: first, by revealing how heteronomous rather than (Westphalian) homogenous international orders have constituted the norm in world political history; and second, by revealing the critical point that the standard Westphalian logic of homogenization reflects a Eurocentric conception that simply does not stand up when applied to the non-Western world."
    John M. Hobson, University of Sheffield

    "Exceptionally clear and accessible, this is an excellent contribution to theories of international continuity and change and theories of system dynamics. It also has interesting implications for our understanding of state transformation."
    Dan Nexon, Georgetown University, Washington DC, and Lead Editor, International Studies Quarterly

    "This book makes a major theoretical and empirical contribution. Theoretically, it greatly advances our understanding of how diverse political organizations may interact in regional international systems. Empirically, it elucidates how the Indian Ocean presented an inter-ecumenical zone that synergistically braided European, Middle East and Asian influences in early modernity."
    Hendrik Spruyt, Norman Dwight Harris Professor of International Relations, Northwestern University, Illinois

    "This is a remarkable book. In only about 250 pages it seeks to provide a new way of looking at how international relations should be taught. It is also, in international relations terms, seeking to bring the Indian Ocean in from the cold."
    Keith Suter, Journal of the Indian Ocean Region

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107446823
    • length: 271 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 151 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.39kg
    • contains: 9 maps 2 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. The puzzle of durable diversity in international relations
    2. The initial growth of diversity, 1500–1600
    3. The expansion of diversity and competition under heteronomy, 1600–50
    4. The stabilization of diversity, 1600–1750
    5. Reconfiguring diversity in the age of empire, 1750–1900
    Conclusion: order in diversity.

  • Authors

    Andrew Phillips, University of Queensland
    Andrew Phillips is an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Research Award Fellow and Senior Lecturer in International Relations and Strategy in the School of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Queensland.

    J. C. Sharman, Griffith University, Queensland
    J. C. Sharman is a Professor in the Centre for Governance and Public Policy at Griffith University.


    • Co-Winner, 2017 Francesco Guicciardini Prize, Historical Relations Section, International studies Association
    • Co-Winner, 2016 Robert L. Jervis and Paul W. Schroeder Best Book Award, International History and Politics Section, American Political Science Association

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