The G20 and International Relations Theory
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The G20 and International Relations Theory

Perspectives on Global Summitry

Edited by Steven Slaughter

The future of the G20 is uncertain despite being developed to address the 2008 global financial crisis. This book considers the significance of the G20 by engaging various accounts of International Relations theory to examine the political drivers of this form of global governance. International Relations theory represents an array of perspectives that analyse the factors that drive the G20, how the G20 influences world politics and in what ways the G20 could or should be reformed in the future.
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Chapter 4: The G20 and the English School

Tristen Naylor


The English School is often characterized as a ‘via media’ between realist and liberal theory and concerns itself with questions about international forms of recognition, belonging, customs, and conventions. This chapter outlines three key dimensions of the English School: the ‘Three Traditions’ of international thought and the English School’s central theoretical construction of ‘international society’; the distinction between primary and secondary international institutions; and the tension between solidarist and pluralist forms of international society. It demonstrates how the English School’s approach can be used to analyze the significance of the G20 in contemporary global governance and proposes that we conceptualize the G20 as a new sort of great powers’ club with responsibility for maintaining and steering international order.

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