Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The shape of things to come : global order and democracy in 1940s international thought
Author: Macdonald, Emily Jane Camilla
ISNI:       0000 0004 6496 1097
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Please try the link below.
Access from Institution:
This thesis examines the role of democracy in British, French and American visions of global order in the 1940s. It argues that 'democracy' in a global context did not reflect 'Wilsonian' or 'Cosmopolitan' dreams, nor did it refer to the questions of state representation and institutional accountability that dominate contemporary debates. Instead, it shows that building a 'democratic' global order in the 1940s meant, above all, an attempt to address the challenge of democratic modernity, summarised by Karl Polanyi in 1944 as the search for 'freedom in a complex society', in the new global environment of the mid-century. This challenge was composed of five core concerns, ranging from the protection of the individual from the modern state and the transformation of democratic participation, to the use of expert planning and modern technology to secure economic justice. Achieving a balance between these competing and at times contradictory imperatives was seen as the key to securing a new democratic order that could resist the temptations of nationalism and totalitarianism and secure peace. Crucially, it was only through the structures of a new global order that, internationalists argued, there could be any chance of success. The task was not an easy one, and the historical investigation shows how the choices and trade-offs internationalists made in relation to these imperatives entailed costs in terms of inclusivity, participation and even rights within visions of democratic global order. The thesis has both historical and conceptual goals. First, it recovers important ideas about global order that have been largely written out of the history of this period by taking the language of democracy in world order debates seriously and understanding these visions in context. Conceptually, its aim is to contest and transform how we think about global order and democracy in the history of international thought and in the present day. Instead of Cosmopolitan, Wilsonian, liberal or other normative blueprints for a democratic world order, the conclusion argues that we should, following the example of the 1940s, reconceptualise the relationship between global order and democracy today in relation to the persistent dilemmas of democratic modernity. In a global context, these continue to have interlocking domestic and international dimensions and, more importantly, continue to require choices that entail normatively contestable costs in the construction of a democratic global order. Only then, it argues, will it be possible to think about how these shortcomings can be mitigated and whether and what kind of democratic order we want to pursue at all.
Supervisor: Hurrell, Andrew Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Political thought ; International relations ; International history ; Liberal world order ; Historical international relations ; Global order ; Internationalism ; Democratic theory ; Postwar order ; 1940s international thought ; Wilsonianism ; Cosmopolitanism ; Democratic world order ; Democracy