The Expansion of International Society

  • Marc Williams


The readings in this chapter are concerned with the identification and analysis of the external framework within which states exist. International relations are neither incoherent nor unregulated. Indeed they are highly systematic and exhibit continuing patterns of behaviour over time. The various actors in international relations are linked together through a variety of processes. The concept of an international society provides a reference point linking both actors and interactions. It suggests that there is a recognisable external framework which is both intelligible to the actors and provides meaning to their action. Society provides a boundary within which actors pursue their goals; it legitimises certain patterns of conduct and outlaws others. Interactions across national boundaries are social interactions and member units are socialised into acceptable codes of behaviour.


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Notes and References

1 The Expansion of International Society International Society and International Theory James Mayall

  1. 1.
    This debate is discussed by Martin Wight in Systems of States, ed. H. Bull (Leicester, The University Press, 1977), ch. 4.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    P.D. Curtin, The Image of Africa (Madison, Wisc., University of Wisconsin Press, 1964), p. 279.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 5.
    Adda Bozeman, The Future of Law in a Multicultural World (Princeton, N.J., The University Press, 1971), pp. 161–86.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    Cf. Ernest Gellner, ‘Our Current Sense of History’, in Contemporary Thought and Politics (London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1974), pp. 113–33.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    For these two views, see Elie Kedourie, Nationalism in Asia and Africa (New York, The World Publishing Co., 1970), pp. 1–153,Google Scholar
  6. and Ernest Gellner, Thought and Change (London, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1964), pp. 147–78.Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    The nearest to a sustained African defence of intervention is contained in Tanzania’s Memorandum on Biafra’s Case, a document which President Nyerere circulated privately to his fellow Heads of State at the 1969 OAU Summit Conference. It failed to win further adherents to the Biafran cause, but made sufficient impact to persuade the Nigerian Federal Government to make an official refutation. For both documents, see A.H.M. Kirk-Greene (ed.), Crisis and Conflict in Nigeria, vol. 2 (London, OUP, 1971), pp. 429–38.Google Scholar
  8. 10.
    On the ironic nature of contemporary nationalism, see Ernest Gellner, Legitimation of Belief (London, CUP, 1974), esp. ch. 9.Google Scholar
  9. Diplomacy Today Michael PalliserGoogle Scholar
  10. 1.
    Hedley Bull, The Anarchical Society: A Study of World Politics (London, 1977), p. 163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 2.
    Sir Ernest Satow, A Guide to Diplomatic Practice, 5th edn (London, 1979), p. 3.Google Scholar

1 The Expansion of International Society

  1. G. Barraclough, An Introduction To Contemporary History (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1967).Google Scholar
  2. H. Bull and A. Watson (eds), The Expansion of International Society (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1984).Google Scholar
  3. P. Calvocoressi, World Politics since 1945 (London: Longman, 5th edn 1987).Google Scholar
  4. C. Thomas, In Search of Security: The Third World in International Relations (Brighton: Wheatsheaf, 1987).Google Scholar
  5. T.E. Vadney, The World Since 1945 (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1987).Google Scholar

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© Macmillan Publishers Limited 1989

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  • Marc Williams

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