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Freedom vs Necessity in International Relations

Freedom vs Necessity in International Relations

Professor David Chandler


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The last two decades have seen the remarkable rise to dominance of human-centred understandings of the world. Indeed, it is now rare to read any analysis of insecurity, conflict or development which does not discuss the need to 'empower' or 'capacity-build' local individuals or communities. In this path-breaking book, Chandler presents a radical challenge to such approaches, arguing that the solutions to the world's problems are now not perceived to lie within external structures of economic, political and social relations, but instead with individuals and groups who are often seen to be the most marginal and powerless. This fundamental change has gone hand-in-hand with the shift from state-based to society-based understandings of the world. Chandler provocatively argues that human-centred approaches have limited rather than expanded the transformative possibilities available to us, and if real change is to be achieved - both at a local and a global level - then a radical re-think in Western thought is required.
David Chandler is professor of international relations and research director of the Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster. He is the author of several books and edits the journal Resilience: International Policies, Practices and Discourses.
'In this important and provocative book, packed with deep insights, Chandler illustrates how global problems are turned into problems of human subjectivity. This book will set the vital question of the discursive shift from the external to the internal world at the top of the agenda.' Jonathan Joseph, The University of Sheffield 'David Chandler's new book leads the exploration of what it means to be a political subject today. Incisive and thought provoking, it captures for the first time the shape of an essential debate about human agency, the state, and the international during the current crisis of liberalism.' Oliver Richmond, University of Manchester '"Better choices" can make individuals more "resilient" in the face of "insecurity." Chandler's book develops this idea as the kernel of post-liberal theories of psychology, the state and international relations and in return offers a trenchant and sweeping critique.' Robert Meister, University of California, Santa Cruz 'David Chandler's Freedom versus Necessity in International Relations retrieves the insights of structural thinking. He demonstrates how social theory's emphasis on "agent-centered" analysis has led to an inward retreat that limits our response to global social problems. He argues that by homing in on the self, we have squandered the human potential to remake and transform the world. Chandler's book recovers this potential and moves us towards projects that aim at freedom and progress. This thoughtful and timely book requires our attention.' Naeem Inayatullah, Ithica College 'In this remarkable book, David Chandler not only develops a robust critical framework for rethinking the place of resilience in neoliberal globalization, he uses the case of securitization in contemporary development discourses to offer a powerful, though sympathetic, rebuttal to Foucauldian governmentality scholarship, which has tended to appraise the politics of development through the discursive prism of cosmopolitan liberalism. This book will be vital reading for anyone seeking to deepen their understanding of the primary importance attached to the human subject in contemporary "post-liberal" globalization, or simply to better understand the stakes of the emerging debate about "global governmentality".' - Nicholas Kiersey, Ohio University 'David Chandler's compelling and challenging text demands that we recognize the extent to which North/Western preoccupations with and claims for "human security" have become a battering ram used against (rather than for) the world's poor and dispossessed. Chandler argues that the decidedly person unfriendly shift from state responsibility/ies for citizens to citizens reliance on themselves reeks of (neo)liberalism run amok and elides the place of the powerful. This is a salutary and powerful reminder that to whatever extent people make their own history they do not do so under conditions of their choosing, and to pretend otherwise is to ignore the degree to which the material and ideological conditions of our everyday lives continue to shaped by the all too real, actually existing, world in which we live. This critical-in several senses of the word-thought-provoking work merits much attention and discussion.' Eric Selbin, Southwestern University

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
About the author i
Title page iii
Copyright iv
Table of contents v
Acknowledgements vi
1 | Introduction: The Subject of Governance 1
Introduction 1
After liberalism 7
Post-liberal governance 13
Overview of the book 18
2 | From Freedom to Necessity 23
Introduction 23
The end of freedom 24
Structures and contingency: Prigogine versus Newton 26
The social construction of structures 30
From freedom to necessity 33
Contingency and politics 39
Conclusion 44
3 | Resilience: The Self-Production of Society 45
Introduction 45
Societal resilience 46
Bringing in the inner world: Friedrich von Hayek and the psychology of the brain 51
Removing the outer world: Anthony Giddens and manufactured uncertainty 57
Choice and the human subject 64
Conclusion 66
4 | Development and Human Agency 68
Introduction 68
Foucault’s work on the genealogy of the subject 73
Development after the colonial/post-colonial problematic 77
Sen’s framework 82
Sen’s displacement of the external world with the inner world 87
Conclusion 92
5 | The Social Construction of Difference 94
Introduction 94
Promoting reason 97
Social constructivism 99
Agency and communicative norms 102
Norms and behavioural modification 105
The shrinking of the liberal world 110
The self-production of the vulnerable subject 115
Conclusion 117
6 | Empowerment and Human Security 119
Introduction 119
Human security 120
Shifting paradigms of security 124
Resilience: the agent-centred paradigm 131
Table 6.1 From Western-centred to human-centred approaches to security: two paradigms 133
Conclusion 137
7 | Conclusion: Reasserting Human Freedom 139
Introduction 139
Moralism 141
Legacies of politics 144
Real truths 146
Our morals: practical truths 150
Arendt and practical truth 156
Conclusion 162
Notes 165
Bibliography 171
Index 185
About Zed Books 192