Handbook of Critical International Relations
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Handbook of Critical International Relations

Edited by Steven C. Roach

Comprising a plurality of perspectives, this timely Handbook is an essential resource for understanding past and current challenges to democracy, justice, social and gender equality, identity and freedom. It shows how critical international relations (IR) theory functions as a broad-based and diverse critique of society.
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Chapter 11: Critical international relations and the global organic crisis

Stephen Gill


The central hypothesis for this chapter is that the intensification of the power of capital in an expanding market civilization is generating a multifaceted organic crisis for the people and the planet. The crisis presents moments of danger and opportunity for political forces and struggles between old and new – concerning the future of society, ecology and world order. This situation forms a central if not the central problématique for the critical study of international relations for the foreseeable future. To advance this hypothesis I discuss: (1) aspects of power, justice, ethics and transformation related to: (2) an ontology of world order; (3) many morbid symptoms, including debt and dispossession; (4) government by plutocracy and (5) politics of the “extreme centre”. I suggest that (6) dominant frameworks of governance premised on delusions concerning “business as usual” cannot meaningfully address the depths of the global organic crisis and in response, I offer some critical alternatives.

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