Hedley Bull and International Security

Author/s (editor/s):

Samuel M. Makinda

Publication year:


Publication type:

Working paper

Find this publication at:
IR Working Paper 1997/3 (PDF, 1.99MB)

Samuel M. Makinda, 'Hedley Bull and International Society', IR Working Paper 1997/3, Canberra: Department of International Relations, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, The Australian National University, September 1997.

Hedley Bull made a significant contribution to international security studies, but his role as a security theorist remains largely unexplored. This paper argues that Bull's ideas went beyond the traditional international security agenda and helped establish the foundation for critical security theory. Although Bull did not describe himself as a critical security theorist, his work indirectly provided a basis on which the assumptions underpinning the traditional international security assumptions could be challenged. Bull was a trans-paradigm theorist who utilised realism, pluralism, classical solidarism and cosmopolitan solidarism not only to shed significant light on the traditional international security perspective, but also to lay the foundation for critical security theory. In his early work, Bull used realism and pluralism to address the traditional international security agenda, with its emphasis on threats to the states, power politics, and the use of military force. Classical solidarism provided a framework through which he explored ideas about collective security and the ability of the United Nations to deal with common threats to international order and security. Through cosmopolitan solidarism, Bull explained the need for international society and world society to deal with poverty and injustice in the world. It is through cosmopolitan solidarist ideas that Bull can be portrayed as a critical security theorist.

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