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The Moral Purpose of the State
Author: Christian Reus-Smit

ISBN: 9780691144351
Format: Paperback
Number Of Pages: 216
Published: 18 October 2009
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.2 x 1.2
Description:


This book seeks to explain why different systems of sovereign states have built different types of fundamental institutions to govern interstate relations. Why, for example, did the ancient Greeks operate a successful system of third-party arbitration, while international society today rests on a combination of international law and multilateral diplomacy? Why did the city-states of Renaissance Italy develop a system of oratorical diplomacy, while the states of absolutist Europe relied on naturalist international law and "old diplomacy"? Conventional explanations of basic institutional practices have difficulty accounting for such variation. Christian Reus-Smit addresses this problem by presenting an alternative, "constructivist" theory of international institutional development, one that emphasizes the relationship between the social identity of the state and the nature and origin of basic institutional practices.

Reus-Smit argues that international societies are shaped by deep constitutional structures that are based on prevailing beliefs about the moral purpose of the state, the organizing principle of sovereignty, an...

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