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World Crisis

CANADA AND THE GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR

Wednesday 23 March 2011
SOAS Vernon Square Campus, Room V122
5:00 pm to 7:00 pm

School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London Development Studies’ Neoliberalism, Globalisation, and States Research Cluster presents

A Clash of Principals and Interests: Canada’s role in the latest inning of the Great Game – the Global War on Terror.

Michael Skinner

To justify Canada’s role in the Global War on Terror, Canadian politicians and opinion-makers framed this world war’s first battlefront in Afghanistan in three ways: 1) as a struggle of principal to spread democracy and universal human rights; 2) as a necessary show of support for Canada’s closest ally and largest trading partner, the United States; and 3) as part of a necessary strategy to ensure national and global security. However, economic and geopolitical interests outweigh concerns for liberating Afghans or securing global peace. Despite failing to liberate Afghans or provide greater security, the Global War on Terror is liberating capital, securing investors, and fulfilling many of the strategic objectives outlined in both the US National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy. In recent decades, Canadian foreign policy interests have generally converged with those of the United States within an emerging empire of capital. Aggressively pursuing these mutual interests may exacerbate conflict in Afghanistan, the Greater Central Asian region, and around the globe.

Michael Skinner Biography:

Michael Skinner is a Researcher at the York Centre for International and Security Studies, a Researcher with the Afghanistan Canada Research Group, and a doctoral candidate in Political Science at York University. He is currently researching and writing his doctoral dissertation titled Peacebuilding, State-building, and Empire-building: Interventions from Central America to Central Asia during the Empire of Capital. In 2007, Skinner and his Afghan-Canadian research partner Hamayon Rastgar travelled throughout Afghanistan where they asked Afghans from all walks of life to comment on the international intervention. Since their return, both researchers have frequently been invited by academic and activist organisations, as well as news agencies across Canada to speak about Canada’s role in the Global War on Terror. Michael Skinner has written a number of reports, academic papers, book chapters, and journalism articles about the international interventions in both Central America and Central Asia. He is also a frequent foreign affairs commentator on The Michael Coren Show broadcast across Canada on the CTS television network.

Vernon Square Campus, V122, Wed. 23 March 2011, 5-7pm
Penton Rise
London , WC1X 9EW
http://www.soas.ac.uk/visitors/location/maps/

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World Crisis

 

Capitalism

UNEVEN AND COMBINED DEVELOPMENT AND CONTEMPORARY WORLD POLITICS

Dear Colleague,

I am pleased to announce that Queen Mary’s Centre for the Study of Global Security and Development will be hosting a symposium on ‘Uneven and Combined Development and Contemporary World Politics’ on Wednesday, Februaury 9, 2011 between 2-6pm.

The programme is below. If you wish to attend please contact Rick Saull – r.g.saull@qmul.ac.uk – in advance of the symposium.

Regards,
Rick Saull
Director, Queen Mary, Centre for the Study of Global Security and
Development

Symposium on UNEVEN AND COMBINED DEVELOPMENT AND CONTEMPORARY WORLD POLITICS

Wednesday, February 9, 2-6pm (room Arts G.02), Queen Mary, Mile End Campus, London, E1 4NS

Programme/Presenters

Session 1, 2.00pm – 3.30pm

Alex Anievas (Cambridge)
‘Origins and Extensions of Uneven and Combined Development in the History and Theory of International Relations: The Case of the First World War’ This paper aims to contribute to recent debates on ‘international historical sociology’ specifically regarding the potential utility of Leon Trotsky’s concept of uneven and combined development (U&CD) in advancing a theory of modern inter-state conflict. The paper first re-examines recent debates over the theoretical status of U&CD considering, in particular, the various socio-historical and spatial registers covered by the idea as deployed by the different positions within the debates. Considering the possible benefits and pitfalls of stretching the concept to a generalized theory of ‘the international’ throughout history, the paper argues that a central challenge remains. This regards the development of a sufficiently historically-differentiated conception of ‘unevenness’ and ‘combination’-one capable of theorizing the radical historical disjuncture represented by the international relations of capitalist modernity while nonetheless capturing aspects of inter-societal relations common to all historical epochs and thus forming a crucial causal element in the transition to capitalism itself. Developing such a perspective, a theory of U&CD could take up John Hobson’s (and others) charges of ‘Euro-centricism’ with a more historically-sensitive interpretation of the internationally-pressurized multiple paths to capitalist modernity and their crucial ‘feed-back’ effects in restructuring processes of inter-state competition. Drawing on and further contributing to the theory, the second half of the paper sketches an alternative approach to the causes of the First World War distinctively combining ‘geopolitical’ and ‘sociological’ modes of explanations into a single framework. This highlights how the necessarily variegated character of interactive socio-historical development explains the inter-state rivalries leading to war. Contextualizing the sources of conflict within the broad developmental tendencies of the Long Nineteenth century (1789-1914) and their particular articulation during the immediate pre-war juncture, the paper aims further develop the theory of U&CD in and through the rich empirical terrain of the pre-war period thereby providing a much needed empirical contribution to recent debates.

Ben Selwyn (Sussex)
‘Trotsky, Gerschenkron and the Political Economy of Late Capitalist Development’
The study of late capitalist development is often characterised as a battle between protagonists of market-led vs state-led development. For the latter position, Alexander Gerschenkron looms large, as one of the most significant theorists of state-led development under conditions of relative backwardness. There are striking similarities between Gerschenkron’s explication of the advantages of backwardness and Trotsky’s concept of uneven and combined development and the privilege of backwardness. (These similarities have been commented upon often but rarely subject to closer comparison): Indeed, both men share a common problematic – the comprehension of how economically backward countries could skip stages of development in order to join the ranks of economically advanced countries. This paper compares their conception of this problematic and illustrates how in a number of areas the two are complementary. These are: Their rejection of unilinear patterns of capitalist development, their appreciation of the role of states and institutions in facilitating late development, and their understanding of development as a disruptive social process.  However, in crucial areas the two diverge. These are: Their comprehension of international economic and political relations, the role and position of labour in late development, and ultimately, the potential for late capitalist development to unleash social upheavals and further, non-capitalist transformations. Overall, I suggest how Trotsky and Gerschenkron’s approaches can complement each other, but that ultimately they represent fundamentally opposed approaches to human development.

Coffee Break, 3.30pm – 4.00pm

Session Two, 4.00pm – 6.00pm

Mick Dunford (Sussex)
‘Combined and Uneven Development: A Geographical Perspective’

John Hobson (Sheffield)
‘What’s at Stake in the Neo-Trotskyist Debate? Towards a Non-Eurocentric Historical Sociology of Uneven and Combined Development’
This piece seeks to advance what is being termed ‘third wave historical sociology of IR’ (HSIR). In particular I consider how a third-wave ‘non-Eurocentric’ HSIR could be developed by entering into the extant internecine debate that is raging within the newly emergent neo-Trotskyist school of HSIR. At one extreme lies Justin Rosenberg who argues that the concept of uneven and combined development (U&CD) should be historically generalised while the majority position insists that U&CD is specific only to the modern capitalist era (e.g., Ashman, Davidson, Allinson and Anievas). Here I provide some support for the Rosenberg position, by arguing that failure to historically generalise the concept beyond modern capitalism leads into the cul-de-sac of Eurocentrism. As a counter, I spend the majority of the piece sketching the outlines of a non-Eurocentric theory of U&CD by considering the ‘rise of the West’ as a case of a late-developing civilization; and in the process sketching the basis for an adequate third-wave non-Eurocentric HSIR.

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Global Economy

MARXISM AND WORLD POLITICS

Marxism and World Politics: Contesting Global Capitalism
Edited by Alexander Anievas

This book brings together internationally-distinguished scholars from History, Philosophy, Development Studies, Geography, and International Relations (IR) to examine recent developments in Marxist approaches to world politics.

Offering original and stimulating analyses of subjects traditionally at the forefront of Marxist studies of world politics, the collection also considers issues which have yet to be fully explored within a number of disciplines. Examining a wide array of topics ranging from the imperialism-globalization debate, the connections between social structures and foreign relations, the role of identity and imperialist norms in world politics, to the relationship between Marxist and Realist IR Theory, the contributors seek to further theoretical discussions and their implications for emancipatory radical politics. These contributions are structured around two major themes:

* The relationship between capitalist modernity and the states-system in explaining the changing patterns of inter-state conflict and cooperation;

* The debates within Marxist and IR discourses on the theoretical significance of ‘the international’, covering topics including uneven and combined development and passive revolution.

An impressive collection that seeks to advance dialogue and research, Marxism and World Politics will be of interest to students and scholars of IR, International Political Economy, Political Science, and Historical Sociology.

Table of Contents

The Renaissance Of Historical Materialism In International Relations Theory: An Introduction
Alexander Anievas

Part I: The Geopolitics Of Capitalist Modernity

1. Does Capitalism Need The State-System?
Alex Callinicos
2. The Changing “Logics” Of Capitalist Competition
Benno Teschke and Hannes Lacher
3. Western Hegemony And Transnational Capital: A Dialectical Perspective
Kees Van Der Pijl
4. Beyond The Theory Of Imperialism: Global Capitalism And The Transnational State
William I Robinson
5. Many Capitals, Many States: Logic, Contingency Or Mediation?
Neil Davidson
6. Globalization And Ideology: Post-Fordist Capitalism And The Politics Of Imperial Consent
Mark Rupert
7. To Be Or Not To Be, a Reductionist Marxism: Is That The Question?
John Hobson
8. Industrial Development And International Political Conflict In Contemporary Capitalism
Peter Gowan

Part II: Marxism And “The International”

9. Uneven And Combined Development: The Social-Relational Substratum Of “The International”? An Exchange Of Letters
Alex Callinicos And Justin Rosenberg
10. Non-Synchronicity, Capitalism And Uneven And Combined Development
Sam Ashman
11. The Geopolitics Of Passive Revolution
Adam David Morton
12. Approaching “The International”: Beyond Political Marxism
Jamie C. Allinson and Alexander Anievas
13. Politics And The International
Simon Bromley

Author Biography
Alexander Anievas is a PhD candidate at the Centre of International Studies, University of Cambridge, UK. He is also currently the managing editor of the Cambridge Review of International Affairs and member of the Editorial Board of Historical Materialism: Research in Critical Marxist Theory.

April 2010 | Paperback: 978-0-415-47803-8 (Routledge) £25.99

Read More: http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415478038/

Request an e-inspection copy: email michael.king@tandf.co.uk

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