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Debating Worlds Contested Narratives of Global Modernity and World Order

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2023-03-28
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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By the last decade of the twentieth century, the great questions of modernity seemed to be answered. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and global communism, the liberal democratic capitalist project seemed to be the only one left standing, and in the 1990s the "liberal ideal" spread worldwide. Today, of course, this universalistic narrative rings hollow.

The global distribution of power has shifted and the preeminence of the West is receding as new directions for world order emerge. China is rapidly ascending as a peer competitor of the United States, bringing with it a powerful new global narrative of grievance and revision. Political Islam also burst onto the global scene as a multifaceted transnational movement reshaping regional political order and geopolitical alignments. With the rapid advance of climate change, there have arisen new narratives of global endangerment and dystopia. Far from converging, fragmentation and contestation increasingly dominate debates over world order.

In Debating Worlds, Daniel Deudney, G. John Ikenberry, and Karoline Postel-Vinay have gathered a group of eminent scholars in the field to analyze the various ways in which the West's dominant narrative has waned and a new plurality of narratives has emerged. Each of these narratives combines stories of the past with understandings of the present and attractive visions of the future. Collectively, the contributors map out these narratives, focusing primarily on their key features, origins, and implications for world order. The narratives prominent on the world stage are a volatile mix of components, but they also differ in scope--some are regional and civilizational without global aspirations, while others cast themselves as globally expansive and universally ambitious. Covering the most influential narratives currently shaping world politics, Debating Worlds is an essential volume for all scholars of international relations.

Author Biography

Daniel Deudney is Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University. He is the author, co-author, and co-editor of several books, including Dark Skies: Space Expansionism, Planetary Geopolitics, and the Ends of Humanity and Bounding Power: Republican Security Theory from the Polis to the Global Village.

G. John Ikenberry is the Albert G. Milbank Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University. He is also Co-Director of Princeton's Center for International Security Studies and a Global Eminence Scholar at Kyung Hee University in Seoul, Korea. He is the author of eight books, including A World Safe for Democracy: Liberal Internationalism and the Crises of Global Order and Liberal Leviathan: The Origins, Crisis, and Transformation of the American World Order.

Karoline Postel-Vinay is Director of Research at the Center for International Studies at Sciences Po in Paris. She is a specialist on the geopolitics of Japan and East Asia, and her books include The G20: A New Geopolitical Order and L'Occident et sa bonne parole: nos représentations du monde, de l'Europe coloniale à l'Amérique hégémonique.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Debating Worlds
Daniel Deudney, G. John Ikenberry, Karoline Postel-Vinay

Chapter One: Angloworld Narratives: Race as Global Governance
Duncan Bell

Chapter Two: The Rise and Fall of a Global Narrative: The Soviet Challenge to the Western World
Michael Cox

Chapter Three: Pan-Islamic Narratives of the Global Order, 1870-1980
Cemil Aydin

Chapter Four: The Enduring Dilemma of Japan's Uniqueness Narratives
Saori Katada and Kei Koga

Chapter Five: Writing the Right: Radical Conservative Narratives of Globalization
Jean-Francois Drolet and Michael Williams

Chapter Six: The Chinese Global in the Long Postwar: War, Civilization and Infrastructure since 1945
Rana Mitter

Chapter Seven: Narrating India in/and the World: Colonial Origins and Postcolonial Contestations
Itty Abraham

Chapter Eight: Inequality, Development, and Global Distributive Justice
Jeremy Adelman

Chapter Nine: The Great Schism: Scientific-technological Modernity vs Greenpeace Civilization
Daniel Deudney

Conclusion: Many Worlds and the Coming Narrative Dilemma
Karoline Postel-Vinay

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