The good state: In praise of 'classical' internationalism

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The end of the Cold War has seen Western internationalism migrate from the margins to the centre of International Relations theory and practice. As a consequence the modest ambitions of what we might now call 'classical internationalism' have come under challenge from more thoroughly cosmopolitan varieties from both the right and left of the mainstream Western political spectrum whose commonalities, moreover, are arguably becoming as prominent as their differences. This article attempts to recover the classical internationalist project and, more specifically, the understanding of statehood that underpins it. Some observations on the distinctions and tensions between varieties of contemporary internationalist and cosmopolitan thinking about international politics are followed by a critique of a pervasive scholarly disinterest in the varieties of Western internationalist states. These two exercises form the backdrop to advocacy of the idea of 'the Good State' as a response to dominant forms of contemporary Western cosmopolitanism and their critics. Copyright © British International Studies Association.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)427-449
Number of pages22
JournalReview of International Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2005


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