Concepts of International Order
This chapter focuses on the inter-subjective construction of order. It makes a crucial claim that how we understand international order affects how we might ‘see’ change to that order—fundamentally, it sets out that within international order different constitutive elements may be challenged—it is possible to change the character of order without changing its structures. This approach enables a key claim of this book, that the rise China as a great power is manifestly different because it is within a socially constructed order. A central claim of this chapter is that the current structure of international order—the presence of international law and institutions—and the teleology of international order are liberal. But, the mechanisms for change to this teleology within the liberal structure of order are constructivist. As such, liberalism helps to describe the current international order, it is constructivism that provides us with the mechanisms for its change.