Between anarchy and empire : an analysis and reformulation of the concept of international society in the light of the republican political tradition
The main purpose of this thesis is to reformulate the concept of international society, as it is predominantly used within the discipline of International Relations. In particular, this work analyses the conception of international society defined as a society of states, which is associated with the work of the so-called 'English school'. An important recent development within the discipline of International Relations is the attempt to develop a notion of international society which is able to overcome the ontological divide between domestic and international politics. This work should be seen as part of the same intellectual enterprise. The thesis starts by explaining the meaning of the expression "ontological divide" between domestic and international politics. In addition, it is claimed that the adoption of such a divide characterises the statist approaches to the study of international society. In the first part, two central points are addressed. First, how the English school developed the concept of international society as a reaction against the tradition of realpolitik, specifically against a definition of the states system in terms of a state of war. This work then discusses why the notion of the society of states has ultimately failed to avoid the ontological divide. In the second part, building on the republican political tradition, this thesis attempts to elaborate a conception of international society which escapes the ontological divide between domestic and international politics. It does so by developing the ideas of the international common good, mixed polities and divided sovereignty, and the international constitutional and ideological structure. As a result, this work reformulates the concept of international society, conventionally defined as a society of states. The thesis concludes by outlining the importance of this argument for the study of international relations.