International Politics

, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 450–482 | Cite as

International Relations — The ‘Higher Bullshit’: A Reply to the Globalization Theory Debate

  • Justin Rosenberg
Debating Globalization


This article replies to an earlier forum (International Politics (42.3) on ‘Globalization Theory: a Post Mortem’. Whereas the ’Post Mortem’ had criticized Globalization Theory largely for its neglect of Classical Social Theory's achievements, the current paper emphasizes its reproduction of one of Classical Social Theory's greatest limitations: the failure to incorporate ‘the international’ into its theorization of historical development. This limitation, it is argued, may be overcome using the idea of ’uneven and combined development’, an idea which is first reformulated (in order to re-connect the premises of social and international theory), and then used as a vantage point from which to respond to criticisms of the ‘Post Mortem’. ‘The international’, it turns out, is not the fading reality postulated by Globalization Theory but rather a fundamental dimension of social existence that IR, uniquely among the social sciences, encounters as its core subject matter.


globalization theory uneven and combined development the international historical sociology 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan Ltd 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Justin Rosenberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of IR and PoliticsUniversity of SussexBrightonUK

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