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Title: International society is to international system as world society is to...? Systemic and societal processes in English school theory
Authors: Lees, N
Keywords: Emic;English School;Etic;Historical sociology;International society;International system
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Citation: Journal of International Relations & Development
Abstract: This article argues that the distinction between international system and international society within the English School of International Relations theory, originally put forward by Bull and Watson, should not be abandoned. The distinction is shown to correspond to complementary etic and emic approaches to the study of social reality. The former approach is most appropriate for studying the unintended emergence of patterns of social organisation, the latter approach for the study of intersubjective negotiations over shared rules and norms within a bounded social context. Elaborating, rather than eliminating, the notion of international system suggests the adoption of the concept of ‘world system’ to complement the English School’s concept of world society. Drawing on the neo-Weberian sociology of Mann and Tilly, the article suggests that the concept of world system is not only theoretically coherent but also congruent with conceptualisations of large-scale change offered by contemporary world historians and historical sociologists.
ISSN: 1408-6980
Appears in Collections:Dept of Politics, History and Law Research Papers

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