Three Visions of the Global: Global International Relations, Global History, Global Historical Sociology

Michael Barnett, George Lawson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Global international relations (IR) generates space for theoretical expressions drawn from outside the experiences of the modern West. Alongside these demands for theoretical pluralism can be found a concern for widening IR's historical frames of reference. Yet, to date, the relationship between global IR and history is the least developed part of the project's agenda. This article suggests two ways in which this relationship can be strengthened. One draws from global history, shows how transboundary connections and relational dynamics forge the units used by advocates of global IR in their analysis: West and non-West, core and periphery, metropole and colony. The other draws from global historical sociology as it advances the role of power asymmetries for understanding the patterns and entanglements in transboundary connections. Connecting global IR to global history and global historical sociology can help produce a fuller understanding of the interactive connections and asymmetrical entanglements between peoples, places, ideas, and institutions that drive historical development. We illustrate this potential through a brief analysis of the rise of the West. This, in turn, demonstrates the ways in which three visions of the global – global IR, global history, and global historical sociology – can be mutually beneficial.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)499-515
    JournalInternational Theory
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2023

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