Assessing Change in World Politics

T V Paul
  • International Studies Review, June 2018, Oxford University Press (OUP)
  • DOI: 10.1093/isr/viy037

Assessing change in world politics

What is it about?

This introductory paper of the presidential issue examines IR theory's problems and prospects in understanding when and how change happens, especially peaceful transformations in world politics. The ISA 2017 Baltimore conference was aimed at taking an assessment of our understanding of change, its different manifestations as well as implications. The papers in this special issue deal with important questions on different markers and manifestations of change in world politics. The implications might range from epochal transformations to limited changes in the international system, especially within and between regions to incremental changes in how international treaties and global governance initiatives are promulgated, which in turn produce long-term and/or short-term changes in the architecture of world politics. It also addresses the following questions: How do different IR paradigms address change? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Can we understand change sequentially or cumulatively or combining their insights? How do material and ideational factors link together in generating change?

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