In this seminar, I investigate one of the most puzzling claims of international-relations realism: namely that, given anarchy, ‘might makes right’. I first distinguish it from descriptive and meta-normative propositions with which it is commonly conflated, before explaining why it is worth probing. Most significantly, ‘might makes right’ promises to help elucidate criticism of fact-independent ‘ideal theory’ in the tradition of Rawls. I then explore two arguments in its favour through a stylised reading of Grotius.
In this seminar, I take a feminist discourse-theoretical approach to the phenomenon that has been termed ‘norm diffusion’ in order to explore, first, how norms can be understood as themselves the product of discursive contestation; second, in what ways norm diffusion can be recast as the reproduction/resistance of dominant or hegemonic discourse in particular institutional settings; and, third, how and in what ways discourse theory can render visible the subject-positions that are created through ‘norm diffusion’ when it is analysed as discursive reproduction.
There is increasing engagement with the relationship between climate change and security in international relations thought and practice. Yet the nature of this engagement differs significantly, illustrating radically different conceptions of the nature of the threat posed, to whom and (most importantly) what constitute appropriate policy responses. These different climate security discourses encourage practices as varied as national adaptation strategies and globally-oriented mitigation action.