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CfP: Globalisation and Civilisation, Dublin 8–10 April 2010

Posted on by Stephen Mennell

Call for papers

Globalisation and Civilisation in International Relations:
Towards New Models of Human Interdependence

UCD School of Sociology, University College Dublin, Ireland 9–10 April 2010

It is less possible than ever before to separate what goes on inside a state, and especially the distribution of power within a state, from what takes place between states, in particular their power relationships. Wherever one looks, one comes across the interdependence of intra-state and inter-state processes. – Norbert Elias

Recent years have seen a convergence between the concerns of the disciplines of International Relations and Sociology: transitions from peace to war (and back); the dynamics of post-conflict social and political life, changing standards of acceptable behaviour between states; and rising levels of global interconnectedness.

In particular, an affinity has become evident between the ‘English School’ in International Relations and the theory of civilising and decivilising processes stemming from the thinking of Norbert Elias in Sociology. The affinity is especially manifest in the recent writings of Andrew Linklater, leading up to his three-volume study of The Problem of Harm in World Politics (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming) and in Stephen Mennell’s The American Civilizing Process (Polity, 2007).

This conference will bring together specialists in International Relations and sociologists, together with some representatives of cognate disciplines – such as history, political science and criminology – to explore central issues concerning the possible emergence of a single global society. The issues to be addressed will include:

  • Is there really a lust for killing? – Challenging the Realist School’s assumption of an eternally unchanging and aggressive ‘human nature’; To what extent has the passage from peace to war and the return of the warrior back into society become more complex as a result of the civilizing process?
  • Has there been a civilising process in world politics, how should it be understood? to what extent is the nineteenth century ‘standard of civilization’ a continuing influence on world politics?
  • Rethinking the ‘clash of civilizations’: what can the comparative study of civilizing processes (‘western’ and ‘non-western’) contribute to understanding global integration/disintegration?
  • Trust and nuclear weapons
  • Cultural lag and social habitus – do habitus and we-feelings lag behind global integration, and will higher steering mechanisms and post-national loyalties be needed to manage the coming phase of global interconnectedness?
  • Are the currently dominant models of ‘Western democracy’, in which the pursuit of self-interest at the national, commercial and personal levels are institutionalised an intellectually justified-in-depth, compatible with the survival of large-scale human society and of the planet?

The conference will consist of plenary sessions with speakers and panels of discussants. To maintain the conference’s intellectual focus, there will be no parallel sessions. If a large number of people wish to present papers, however, one round table session will be organised.

The deadline for registering for the conference, and for submitting abstracts of papers, is 31 January 2010. To register, please complete the registration form below and send it to the conference email address:

The conference will be preceded on the evening of Thursday 8 April (time to be confirmed) by an inaugural lecture by Robert van Krieken who, along with Chris Whelan, has succeeded Stephen Mennell as Professor of Sociology at University College Dublin.

Robert van Krieken Sociology, University College Dublin
Andrew Linklater International Politics, Aberystwyth University
Stephen Mennell
Sociology, University College Dublin

Provisional list of participants (acceptances to 10 November 2009)

Brett Bowden, Politics, Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra (tbc)
Godfried van Benthem van den Bergh
, International Relations, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Florence Delmotte
, Facultés universitaires Saint-Louis, Brussels
Michael Dunning
, Sociology, Brunel University
Alastair Finlan
, International Politics, Aberystwyth University
Jonathan Fletcher
,  Sociology, Amsterdam
Johan Goudsblom
,  Sociology, University of Amsterdam
Hermann Korte
,  Sociology, University of Hamburg
Richard Kilminster
,  Sociology, University of Leeds
Helmut Kuzmics
, Sociology, Universität Graz
Steven Loyal
, Sociology, University College Dublin
René Moelker
, Sociology, Netherlands Defence Academy, Breda
Abram de Swaan
,  Sociology, University of Amsterdam
Len Seabrooke
, Politics, University of Warwick
Shogo Suzuki
, Politics, University of Manchester (tbc)
Stephen Vertigans
, Sociology, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen
Cas Wouters
,  Sociology, University of Utrecht

Registration Form