Contending images of world politics by Greg Fry, Jacinta O'Hagan

By Greg Fry, Jacinta O'Hagan

This significant new publication presents a unique and fascinating method of the examine of diplomacy. Taking as its start line quite a number influential fresh views at the altering international order (from Samuel P. Huntington's "clash of civilizations" among the West, and the remaining to Francis Fukuyama's "end of background" thesis) the ebook brings jointly specially-commissioned chapters written in a hugely obtainable variety through a really foreign solid of contributors.

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The image is not one drawn from any particular author or work but rather from the growing body of work in history, literature, politics and a range of other disciplines, represented by texts such as Edward Said’s Orientalism (1978b), that explore the experiences of colonization from the perspectives of the colonized. This body of work, notes Seth, is interested in the way colonization shaped the sense of self of both colonizer and colonized and in the ways in which knowledge of, and the capacity to represent, the colonized non-West provided a significant form of power to the colonizing West.

A world dominated by independent sovereign states is seen as giving way to a more complex transnational system in which political structures lag behind economic and social developments, even though the concept of ‘regime’ may serve, up to a point, to bridge this kind of gap. Regimes and norms, of course, represent a different aspect of contemporary liberal thinking, not least that of Fukuyama. They are invoked, as we have seen, in the image of the bifurcated world, even though any examination of current international institutions and regimes, with their diversity and overlap of membership, would raise major problems for the image of two worlds.

This can be attributed to the way in which the universities are incorporated into society. As large institutions, they seek to expand their resources at a time of shrinking public funding. The growth areas, where the demand for specialist skills are high, are mainly in the ‘information sciences’ and in business and economics-related subjects. It is not surprising that university managers should divert resources into these areas at the expense of the humanities – and for that matter the traditional natural sciences.

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