Volume 46, No. 4 | The new English School: the international society in the 21st century

Morten Valbjørn, Johanne Grøndahl Glavind and Tonny Brems Knudsen | From classic to new English School: theoretical, methodological and empirical contributions

This article focuses on the new English School and its revitalized research program with main attention paid to its five revisions: 1) a new take on world society with focus on non-states actors; 2) the revision of the relationship between pluralism and solidarism; 3) the differentiation of international society into two dimensions: the global and the regional international society; 4) the refinement of the School’s concept of international institutions; and 5) methodological pluralism. The article argues that the way forward for the English School is to continue its development of middle range theory, including both interpretative and explanatory research strategies.

Barry Buzan | Great power management and regional ownership in a new world order: rivalry, balancing or concert?

This article revisits the classic pluralist-solidarist debate by focusing on primary institutions as representing the normative structure of international society. The pluralist-solidarist debate is a permanent engagement with how best to balance the demands for order and for justice in response to an ever-changing set of social and material conditions. The paper introduces a distinction between cosmopolitan and state-centric solidarism and shows how, both theoretically and in practice, this helps to clarify the dynamic tension in the pluralist-solidarist debate. The implications are explored in relation to the evolution of primary institutions. The article makes two key arguments. The first is that pluralism and solidarism are not mutually exclusive, but necessarily linked in a continuous creative political discourse about what the normative structure of international society is and should be. The second is that while the basic normative structure of international society remains pluralist, this structure has been and is being increasingly infused with solidarist elements, both in the form of new institutions and in changes of legitimacy and practice within older institutions.

David Delfs Erbo Andersen and Allan Toft Knudsen | Why selectivity in humanitarian intervention? A configurational comparative English School analysis

The international society acts selectively when making the choice between intervening or not in humanitarian crises. By employing and examining well-known English School theory, this article seeks to answer what conditions this selectivity. Via an investigation of 29 post-Cold War humanitarian crises, the analysis confirms the prevalent assumption that a perceived, low resource level attached to an intervention is a necessary condition for humanitarian intervention. Surprisingly, the analysis also shows that media attention and oil interests play a very limited role in states’ calculations. The analysis further demonstrates that under certain conditions the complex issues and theories of the English School may fruitfully be operationalized and analyzed in a positivist, explanatory design as an alternative to the school’s traditionally hermeneutically interpretive one.

Cagdas Citirikkaya | The great powers and regional ownership: the responsibility to protect in Libya and Syria

The activism of the League of Arab States on the humanitarian crisis in the 2011 Libya-conflict and the 2011-2014 Syria-conflict led to an intense debate over the importance of “regional ownership” for international response to crimes against humanity. Regional ownership in the form of the League’s bold recommendation seemed decisive for the UN Security Council’s decision to authorize a humanitarian intervention in Libya in March 2011; meanwhile similar regional recommendations did not bring about a humanitarian intervention in the case of Syria. The two cases reveal a pattern: The significance of regional ownership is conditioned by the global great power dynamics. When great powers have starkly diverging interests, regional ownership is not sufficient to induce a humanitarian intervention, but it nevertheless still influences the positions and actions of great powers. Theoretically, the general assumption of the new English School on the significance of regional level determinants is strengthened, but when it comes to humanitarian intervention this unfolds in interaction with the global fundamental institutions, which form the English School’s traditional point of departure.

Peter Thorgaard and Mikkel Munk Quist Andersen | The chicken or the egg? Bureaucracy and performance in the Danish public school

One key dispute in the American literature on public schools concerns the causal relationship between bureaucracy and performance. One argument is that increased bureaucracy leads to poor performance. Another argument goes that more bureaucracy is an effort to respond to poor performance. To address this question of causality empirically, a Granger causality test is employed on register data, including a unique measure of bureaucracy in a Danish context from the public schools in the Danish municipalities in the period 2002-2006. The evidence suggests that bureaucracy does not affect future performance; on the contrary, it seems that poor performance affects bureaucratic growth in the subsequent years. In short, bureaucracy appears to be the result of and not the reason for poor performance. Thus, public organizations seem to be responsive to their primary clientele.

Jeppe Agger Nielsen | Welfare technology in the pipeline. Politics, rhetoric and social construction work

Technology is gaining ground in core public services, but public administration literature has little to say about this development. With theoretical insights from institutional theory adn via a longitudinal case study of a large-scale innovation project, this article investigates the institutionalization of welfare technology in Danish elderly care. The study demonstrates how a cocktail of historical conditions, powerful stakeholders and successful theorization had a crucial impact on how an innovation (mobile technology) achieved popularity in the public sector (elderly care). The study illustrates how enthusiastic proclamations of public sector innovation may create problems for organizations that need to unpack these ideas and integrate them with existing organizational norms and routines.

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