PDF | On Aug 1, , Harvey Starr and others published Turbulence in World Politics: A Theory of Change and Continuity. By James N. Rosenau. (Princeton. Turbulence in World Politics is an entirely new Turbulence in World Politics: A Theory of Change and Continuity. JAMES N. ROSENAU. Copyright Date. Book Review: Turbulence in World Politics, James. N. Rosenau. Harvey Starr. University of South Carolina, [email protected] Follow this and .
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Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. Rosenau, a renowned inter- national political theorist. Included are articles recently published and those that have not previously been published.
All focus on the study of world politics, with the twenty-three articles in this volume devoted to probing theoretical and methodological challenges. He is a former President of the International Studies Associ- ation —5 and a holder of a Guggenheim Fellowship —8. His books include Turbulence in World Politics: A theory of change and continuityAlong the Domestic-Foreign Frontier: Exploring governance in a turbulent worldand Distant Proximities: Dynamics beyond globalization The Study of World Politics Volume 1: No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers.
Although some have been revised, I am nonetheless grateful to the following publishers for their permission to yurbulence the indicated materials: Chapter 4 combines parts of two prior essays. That journal was later renamed American Behavioral Scientist, and the article jsmes reprinted here with permission from Sage Publications. Zinnes and John V. Turbulencf by permission of Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc. Reproduced by permission of Taylor and Francis, Inc.
Journal of International Studies, Vol. Reprinted here by permission. Northwestern University Press,pp. Theory and Practice Oxford,pp. Allen and Unwin, pp. Lastly, I could not end these acknowledgements without mentioning my research assistant, Miles Townes, to whom fell the task of acquiring these permis- sions from the various publishers and otherwise helping to prepare the manuscript for publication. I am very grateful to him. I am also grateful to my publisher, Craig Fowlie, for his support in generating and supporting this project.
What is the larger meaning of revisiting and publishing these essays? Am I deceiving myself?
James N Rosenau
Will making these essays available have any lasting value for those who follow? In short, compiling these essays has been a humiliating task, and I like to think that I have undertaken it only out of a long-standing commitment to the idea that the name of the game we play is circulating ideas and thereby contributing to the enlargement of knowledge. It is this article of faith that underlies the preparing of these volumes and the essays of which they consist.
All told, my article of faith as well as early on career considerations have resulted in the writing or editing of more than forty books and monographs and some papers, some unpublished, some published in obscure journals, and some as part of the syntheses developed in my three most recent and important books that I have come to regard as a trilogy.
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Criteria of selection In looking back over all the articles I have written, wincing at some of them and pleased with others, it is clear that they all focus on the challenge of understand- ing one or another aspect of world politics and that they are marked by two central and recurring themes. In this volume I have included articles and papers concerned with theory and method, whereas the essays in the other volume focus on the challenges of global- ization and global governance.
Of course, the main foci of the two volumes are not mutually exclusive. Several of the chapters in poltics volume anticipate or take note of the processes of globalization, just as theory and method are necessarily relevant to the chapters of Volume 2.
On balance, janes, the overlap of the two volumes is not nearly so salient as the distinctions between them. In selecting the essays that follow I have sought to strike a balance between furbulence and previously published papers that are not well known either because they appeared in foreign journals or in books that have not been widely read.
In addition, in this volume I have sought to strike a balance between recent papers and those written earlier in my career. It must be emphasized, however, that tracing intellectual development is not a main purpose of the endeavor.
To repeat, the prime purpose is to provoke thought through the circulation of ideas. Organization of this volume The distinction between theory and method cannot be clear-cut.
Conceptual foci Throughout turulence of the ensuing chapters a restlessness is expressed with con- ventional approaches to the theories and methodologies used in the study of world politics. As will be seen, underlying the discontent is a conviction that the world is undergoing enormous changes and that therefore both our theories and our methods must be adjusted accordingly.
Thus more than a few of the ensuing chapters address the problem of change in one way or another. To tool up on a current situation, teach students about its intricacies, and write up analyses of its underpinnings without locating it in a larger and more enduring context is to be only moment- arily up-to-date.
It is not to acquire concepts, perspectives, or information that enables one to grasp the dynamics of worod new situations that evolve subsequently. This is why most of my essays do not focus on particular issues or countries. Chapters 21 and 22 are exceptions, but their analyses seek to generalize beyond the immediate roswnau that occasioned the writing of them. One can never tell the whole story about an individual, event, situ- ation, trend, country, or international system, thus forcing one to select some of its aspects as important and to dismiss other aspects as trivial, a process of selection that perforce renders the resulting analysis other than objective.
To the extent that others do not subscribe to the resulting analysis it can be viewed as a subjective interpretation, whereas if the result is shared by like-minded others it becomes intersubjective. In short, there are no ultimate truths about world politics, rossnau rather competing consensuses about how the world works.
Although the various essays are marked by theoretical concerns, these are never far removed from the question of evidence, of what phenomena are empirically relevant. For it is data and evidence that renders theories credible. Or must the single case be included with many others to form a central tendency for it to be part of an interpretation that supports or negates a theory? And what about the outlier, the deviant case, the exception? My response to such questions has undergone alteration across time.
Early on it seemed clear that only central tendencies were relevant to the knowledge-building process, that any other form of empirical observation could not hold up as a meaningful insight into the human condition. At that time the outlier, deviant case, and excep- tion were viewed simply as noise in the system, as phenomena that did not require careful examination. More recently, however, I have come to realize that unique phenomena that deviate from central tendencies can be useful in the theory- building process if they are treated as instances of some larger pattern that may be at work.
Obviously, one cannot devote time to pursuing the implications of every deviant case. Instead one should pay attention only to those deviant cases that involve important actors or countries, as they might point to patterns that had not previously been appreciated. Put more positively, several of the essays seek to bridge the boundaries by highlighting the ways in which the concepts and methods on opposite sides of the boundaries are not nearly as antithetical as may be thought by those who champion them.
Analysts become so wedded to their own formulations that the temptations to downplay the utility of alternative schemes are considerable and continuously reinforce the preferred paradigm. Yet, to be locked tightly in a conceptual jail is to run the risk of ignoring insights or data that may be relevant to the problems the investigator seeks to clarify.
One concerns our presumptions relative to the nature of change and the capacity of human systems to undergo transformation. A third derives from our premises concerning the role of individuals and their vulnerabilities to change, their readiness to engage in collective action, and their capacity for adapting to new conditions.
In the ensuing chapters I undertake to explicate my premises along these lines as a means of suggesting what the long- term future of politics is likely to be. We can articulate the logic of our initial premises and we can marshal evidence in support of them, but our conclu- sions are bound to be a function of our points of departure.
An emergent epoch A key to grasping the emergent epoch lies in the contradictions that pervade the course of events. Each day brings word of a world inching slowly toward sanity even as it moves toward breakdown. And not only do these integrative and dis- integrative events occur simultaneously, but more often than not they are causally related. More than that, the causal links tend to cumulate and generate a momentum such that every integrative increment tends to give rise to a disintegra- tive increment, and vice versa.
To do otherwise, to focus only on globalizing dynamics, or only on localizing dynamics, is to risk overlooking what makes events unfold as they do. But it would be erroneous to view the emergent epoch as comprised of simple interrelationships, readily discernible, and easily understood.
They encompass the tensions between core and periphery, between national and transnational systems, between communitarianism and cosmopolitanism, between cultures and sub- cultures, between states and markets, between patriots and urbanites, between decentralization and centralization, between universalism and particularism, between the global and the local — to note only the more conspicuous links between opposites that presently underlie the course of events and the develop- ment or decline of institutions.
At the core of the emergent epoch and the tensions that sustain it are inter- actions between new technologies and the uses made of them by people and their collectivities. Similarly, the jet aircraft has reduced geographic distances to less than twenty-four hours in the sense that every city in the world is less than a day away from any other city.
By themselves, however, these technological innovations do not fully explain the advent of a new epoch. Neither globalizing nor localizing dynamics are amorph- ous forces that somehow drive the course of events. They consist of processes as well as structures, processes that are initiated, expanded, contracted, disrupted, or otherwise sustained by human agency, by people acting individually or collectively to cope with challenges and move toward goals.
Put in another way, the emergent epoch derives from a multiplicity of causal factors, each reinforcing the others in ways that defy reduction to an overarching theory. This means there can be no easy or overriding answer to the question of what drives the course of events.
The future of politics If the foregoing analysis of the underlying dynamics of the emergent epoch is reasonably accurate, a broad outline of the nature and direction of politics in the future can be readily derived.
With ever more skillful publics converging into ever greater numbers of networks and organizations, with people on the move ever more extensively, and with global structures increasingly bifurcated, it seems likely that the contradictory trends toward greater integration and greater fragmenta- tion will continue to accelerate. Perhaps most notably, this means that authority at all levels of community throughout the world is likely to be increasingly decentral- ized and, in many cases, weakened.
Despite its resources and history, even the authority of the United States is likely to undergo continuous decentralization and fragmentation. At the same time as the dynamics of localization unfold, so will those of globalization continue to accelerate, especially at regional levels. If the European Union makes it as a coherent entity, its successes are likely to spur similar tenden- cies in other regions of the world. On the other hand, the bifurcation of global structures makes it seem highly improbable that formal governmental institutions will evolve on a worldwide scale.
A much greater likelihood is that cooperation between like-minded actors in the state- and multi-centric worlds will result in issue-based regimes that acquire some authority to cope with problems that arise in their issue-areas.
James N. Rosenau | William Coleman’s Blog.
The emergent epoch, in short, is still very much in its infancy. Terrorist activities have long been a part of the international scene. The attacks of September 11,have certainly added to the salience of terrorism, but they are neither the vanguard of new realities nor the foundations of a new paradigm.
Rather, as elaborated below, the realities and paradigm derive from the advent of an acceleration of pervasive processes wherein several inter- related dynamics have generated a vast, global disaggregation of authority that, in turn, has given rise to new global structures. Locating disaggregating processes at the center of the new paradigm will not be easy. One of the obstacles is inherent in us as analysts, while the other is inherent in the nature of the new realities.
We are obstacles to the necessary paradigmatic innovation because we are so fully ensconced in the conceptual jails that comprise our present paradigms that negotiating a jailbreak poses both intellectual and emotional challenges that cannot readily be overcome. Any paradigm is a conceptual jail because its coher- ence derives from a structure that provides an answer to any developments that might nullify its validity.