Ordering International Politics: Identity, Crisis and by Janice Bially Mattern

By Janice Bially Mattern

How do states maintain overseas order in the course of crises? Drawing at the political philosophy of Lyotard and during an empirical exam of the Anglo-American overseas order throughout the 1956 Suez hindrance, Bially Mattern demonstrates that states can (and do) use representational force--a forceful yet non-physical kind of energy exercised via language--to stabilize foreign identification and in flip foreign order.

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As applied to the international domain, primordialism suggests that states’ identities in relation to one another are pregiven. What this says exactly about how a security community order is formed is difficult to extrapolate, especially because (to my knowledge) there are no primordialist accounts of security communities that were intended by their authors to be so. Indeed, the most renowned application of primordialism to international politics, Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations (1996), uses that logic to advance the exact opposite vision of order.

However, the view that ingroupness is sufficient for security communities is unsustainable. After all, if this were the case, one could expect as many security communities in world politics as there are ingroups, which is clearly not the case. Something more than ingroupness must be at work. It is useful here to recall that not just any old prosocial identity among states is enough for a security community; the identity has to be robust to the level of we-ness. But SIT lacks the theoretic resources to differentiate the content or quality of different ingroup identities or different degrees of Ordering international politics 36 pro-sociality among individuals within ingroups.

1 As Randall Schweller writes, the discussion about international order amounts to a “rigged game” in which scholars build into their definition the very conclusions they would like to reach about its sources. Thus, rather than a productive discussion, research on international order has become largely divided into seemingly incommensurable camps that amount to different ends on a conceptual spectrum. On one end of the spectrum are accounts that conceive of international order as the intentional, cooperative pursuit of shared values among states; on the other are accounts in which order can be Sources of order 21 uninten-tional, a mere stable pattern of behavior among states (Bull 1977; Waltz 1979).

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