Ethics & International Affairs Volume 29.1 (Spring 2015): "Power in Concert: The Nineteenth-Century Origins of Global Governance" by Jennifer Mitzen

Mar 10, 2015

Power in Concert: The Nineteenth-Century Origins of Global Governance, Jennifer Mitzen (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2013), 280 pp., $90 cloth, $32.50 paper.

Review by Andreas Osiander

According to many scholars of international relations, international politics is necessarily based on mutual distrust. Due to the anarchic nature of the international system, bad behavior will often go unpunished and no commitment can be trusted. Cooperation among states cannot be taken for granted and will always be precarious. To be sure, such cooperation can be observed to take place in practice. Some international relations scholars—notably the so-called realists—tend to discount its importance. Others—such as the so-called liberal institutionalists—are prepared to concede that cooperation among states matters, yet are careful not to be caught ascribing it to anything but self-interested motives, lest they be suspected of naivety. More recently, constructivists have emphasized that the behavior of states depends in part on states' own perception of who they are.

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