Global Politics

First edition

by Andrew Heywood

Glossary

Use the alphabetical list below to find words beginning with each letter.

Or download the full glossary (pdf ~ 95 KB)

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


A

Absolute gains: Benefits that accrue to states from a policy or action regardless of their impact on other states (see p. 436).

Absolute poverty: A standard of poverty that is based on an income level or access to resources, especially food, clothing and shelter, which are insufficient to ‘keep body and soul together’.

Acid rain: Rain that is contaminated by sulphuric, nitric and other acids that are released into the atmosphere by the burning of fossil fuels.

Adaptation: Changing in the light of new circumstances; in particular, learning to live with climate change.

Anarchy: Literally, without rule; the absence of a central government or higher authority, sometimes, but not necessarily, associated with instability and chaos.

Androgyny: The possession of both male and female characteristics; used to imply that human beings are sexless 'persons' in the sense that sex is irrelevant to their social role or political status.

Anthropocentrism: A belief that human needs and interests are of overriding moral and philosophical importance.

Anti-Semitism: Prejudice or hatred towards Jewish people; Semites are by tradition the descendants of Shem, son of Noah.

Appeasement: A foreign policy strategy of making concessions to an aggressor in the hope of modifying its political objectives and, specifically, avoiding war.

Arms control: Mechanisms through which the proliferation of arms is constrained by agreements limiting their production, distribution and use.

Asian values: Values that supposedly reflect the history, culture and religious backgrounds of Asian societies; examples include social harmony, respect for authority and a belief in the family.

Assimilation: The process through which immigrant communities lose their cultural distinctiveness by adjusting to the values, allegiances and lifestyles of the host society.

Asymmetrical war: War fought between opponents with clearly unequal levels of military, economic and technological power, in which warfare strategies tend to be adapted to the needs of the weak.

Atomism: The tendency for society to be made up of a collection of self-interested and largely self-sufficient individuals, operating as separate atoms.

Autarky: Economic self-sufficiency, often associated with expansionism and conquest to ensure the control of economic resources and reduce economic dependency on other states.

Autarky: Literally, self-rule; usually associated with economic self-sufficiency brought about by either colonial expansion or a withdrawal from international trade.

Authority: The right to influence the behaviour of others on the basis of an acknowledged duty to obey; power cloaked in legitimacy.

Autocracy: Literally, rule by a single person; the concentration of political power in the hands of a single ruler, typically a monarch.

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B

Balance of payments: The balance of transactions conducted between a country and other countries, taking account of visible trade (exports and imports), invisible trade (services) and capital flows in the form of investments and loans.

Balance of power: A condition in which no one state predominates over others, tending to create general equilibrium and curb the hegemonic ambitions of all states (see p. 256).

Balance: To oppose or challenge a stronger or rising power for fear of leaving oneself exposed.

Bandwagon: To side with a stronger power in the hope of increasing security and influence; ‘jumping on the bandwagon’.

Beggar-thy-neighbour policies: Policies pursued at the expense of other states that are believed to be in their own country’s short-term national interest; most commonly used to describe protectionism.

Behaviouralism: The belief that social theories should be constructed only on the basis of observable behaviour, providing quantifiable data for research.

Belle époque: From the French, literally meaning ‘beautiful era’; a period of peace and prosperity in Europe between the late nineteenth century and the outbreak of WWI was seen as a ‘golden age’.

Biocentric equality: The principle that all organisms and entities in the ecosphere are of equal moral worth, each being part of an interrelated whole.

Blitz: An intensive and sustained aerial bombardment.

Blitzkrieg: (German) Literally, lightning war; penetration in depth by armoured columns, usually preceded by aerial bombardment to reduce enemy resistance.

Brand: A symbolic construct, typically consisting of name, logo or symbol, which conveys the promise, ‘personality’ or image of a product or group of products.

Brezhnev doctrine: The doctrine, announced by Leonid Brezhnev in 1968, that Warsaw Pact states only enjoyed ‘limited sovereignty’, justifying possible Soviet intervention.

Brinkmanship: A strategy of escalating confrontation even to the point of risking war (going to the brink) aimed at persuading an opponent to back down.

Buffer zone: An area, state or collection of states located between potential (and more powerful) adversaries, reducing the likelihood of land-based attack in particular.

Bush doctrine: The doctrine, not always precisely formulated, that pre-emptive military action, possibly aimed at achieving regime change, would be taken against states thought to be threatening the USA through the development of WMD and/or by harbouring terrorists.

Business cycle: Regular oscillations in the level of business activity over time, sometimes called a ‘trade cycle’.

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C

Capital: In a general sense, any ‘asset’, financial or otherwise; Marxists used the term to refer to accumulated wealth embodied in the ‘means of production’.

Capitalism: A system of generalized commodity production in which wealth is owned privately and economic life is organized according to market principles.

Capitalist encirclement: The theory, developed during the Russian Civil War (1918–21), that capitalist states were actively engaged in attempts to subvert the Soviet Union in order to bring down communism.

Carrying capacity: The maximum population that an ecosystem can support, given the food, habitat, water and other necessities available.

Casino capitalism: A form of capitalism that is highly volatile and unpredictable because it is susceptible to speculatively-orientated lifts in finance capital.

Centralization: The concentration of political power or government authority at the centre.

Chauvinism: An irrational belief in the superiority or dominance of one’s own group or people; it can be applied to a nation, an ethnic group, a gender and so on.

Chauvinism: An uncritical and unreasoned dedication to a cause or group, typically based on a belief in its superiority, as in ‘national chauvinism’.

Civic nationalism: A form of nationalism that emphasizes political allegiance based on a vision of a community of equal citizens, allowing respect for ethnic and cultural diversity that does not challenge core civic values.

Civil liberties: Rights and freedoms that define a ‘private’ sphere of existence that belongs to the citizen, not the state; freedoms from government.

Civil rights: Rights of participation and access to power, typically voting and political rights and the right to non-discrimination.

Civil war: An armed conflict between politically organized groups within a state, usually fought either for control of the state or to establish a new state.

Clash of civilizations thesis: The theory that, in the post-Cold War world, conflict would not primarily be ideological or economic, but rather cultural in character.

Classical realism: A form of realism that explains power politics largely in terms of human selfishness or egoism.

Collateral damage: Unintended or incidental injury or damage caused during a military operation (usually used as a euphemism).

Collective dilemma: A problem that stems from the interdependence of states, meaning that any solution must involve international cooperation rather action by a single state.

Collective good: A general benefit from which individuals cannot be excluded and, as a result, for which beneficiaries have no incentive to pay.

Collective security: The idea or practice of common defence, in which a number of states pledge themselves to defend each other, based on the principle of ‘all for one and one for all’ (see p. 440).

Collectivized state: A state that seeks to abolish private enterprise and sets up a centrally planned, or ‘command’ economy.

Commercial liberalism: A form of liberalism that emphasizes the economic and international benefits of free trade, leading to mutual benefit and general prosperity as well as peace amongst states.

Commodification: Turning something into a commodity that can be bought and sold, having only an economic value.

Commodity fetishism: The process whereby commodities are invested with symbolic and social significance, allowing them to exert sway over human beings.

Common market: An area, comprising a number of states, within which there is a free movement of labour and capital, and a high level of economic harmonization; sometimes called a single market.

Communitarianism: The belief that the self or person is constituted through the community, in the sense that individuals are shaped by the communities to which they belong and thus owe them a debt or respect and consideration (Negal 2005).

Community: A principle or sentiment based on the collective identity of a social group, bonds of comradeship, loyalty and duty.

Compellance: A tactic or strategy designed to force an adversary to make concessions against its will through war or the threat of aggression.

Competition state: A state that pursues strategies to ensure long-term competitiveness in the globalized economy.

Conditionality: The requirement, usually made by the IMF and the World Bank, that certain conditions about the future direction of economic policy are met before loans are agreed or made.

Confederation: A qualified union of states in which each state retains independence, typically guaranteed by unanimous decision-making.

Connectivity: A computer buzzword that refers to the links between one device (usually a computer) and others, affecting the speed, ease and extent of information exchanges.

Conscientious objection: Objection to conscription into the armed forces on the grounds of conscience, usually based on the belief that it is morally wrong to act as an agent of war.

Consent: Assent or permission; a voluntary agreement to be subject to binding obligations or a higher authority.

Constitution: A set of rules, written or unwritten, that define the duties, powers and functions of the various institutions of government, define the relations between them and also the relations between the state and the individual.

Consumerism: A psychological and cultural phenomenon whereby personal happiness is equated with the consumption of material possessions (see p. 149).

Contagion: The tendency of investors, alarmed by a crisis in one part of the world, to remove money from other parts of the world, thereby spreading panic well beyond the scope of the initial problem.

Conventional warfare: A form of warfare that is conducted by regular, uniformed and national military units and uses conventional (not nuclear) military weapons and battlefield tactics.

Corruption: A failure to carry out ‘proper’ or public responsibilities because of the pursuit of private gain, usually involving bribery or misappropriation.

Countervailing power: The theory that concentrations of power tend to be temporary because they stimulate oppositional forces and the emergence of rival centres of power; often used to explain challenges to corporate power.

Crimes against humanity: Intentionally committed acts that form part of a widespread, systematic and repeated attack against a civilian population.

Cultural imperialism: The displacement of an indigenous culture by the imposition of foreign beliefs, values and attitudes, usually associated with consolidating or legitimizing economic and/or political domination.

Cultural nationalism: A form of nationalism that places primary emphasis on the regeneration of the nation as a distinctive civilization rather than on self-determination.

Cultural relativism: The view that matters of right or wrong are entirely culturally determined, usually implying that it is impossible to say that one culture is better or worse than another.

Culturalism: The belief that human beings are culturally-defined creatures, culture being the universal basis for personal and social identity.

Custom: A practice that is so long established and widely accepted that it has come to have the force of law.

Customs union: An arrangement whereby a number of states establish a common external tariff against the rest of the world, usually whilst abolishing internal tariffs.

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D

Debt crisis: A situation in which a country is unable to service its debts because economic surpluses are insufficient to meet interest repayments.

Debt relief: Agreements to write off foreign debt or reduce it to ‘sustainable levels’, often linked to conditions about good governance.

Decentralization: The expansion of local autonomy through the transfer of powers and responsibilities away from national bodies.

Decentralization: The expansion of local autonomy through the transfer of powers and responsibilities away from national bodies.

Deconstruction: A close reading of philosophical or other texts with an eye to their various blindspots and/or contradictions.

Deep ecology: A green ideological perspective that rejects anthropocentrism and gives priority to the maintenance of nature; it is associated with values such as bio-equality, diversity and decentralization.

Deep ecology: A green ideological perspective that rejects anthropocentrism and gives priority to the maintenance of nature; it is associated with values such as bioequality, diversity and decentralization.

Defensive realism: A form of structural realism that views states as ‘security maximizers’, placing the desire to avoid attack above a bid for world power.

Deference: Willing compliance with the wishes or expectations of others.

Deflation: A reduction in the general level of prices, linked to a reduction in the level of economic activity in the economy.

Democratization: The transition from authoritarianism to liberal democracy, reflected in the granting of basic freedoms and political rights, the establishment of competitive elections and the introduction of market reforms.

Dependency theory: A neo-Marxist theory that highlights structural imbalances within international capitalism that impose dependency and underdevelopment on poorer states and regions.

Détente: (French) Literally, loosening; the relaxation of tension between previously antagonistic states, often used to denote a phase in the Cold War.

Deterrence: A tactic or strategy designed to prevent aggression by emphasizing the scale of the likely military response (the cost of an attack would be greater than any benefit it may bring).

Deterritorialization: The process through which social spaces can no longer be wholly mapped in terms of territorial places, territorial distance and territorial borders.

Devaluation: A reduction in the value of a currency relative to other currencies.

Devaluation: The reduction in the official rate at which one currency is exchanged for another.

Development: Growth, the act of improving, enlarging or refining; development is commonly linked to economic growth, but the term is deeply contested.

Devolution: The transfer of power from central government to subordinate regional or provincial institutions that have no share in sovereignty; their responsibilities and powers being derived entirely from the centre.

Devolution: The transfer of power from central government to subordinate regional institutions that, unlike federal institutions, have no share in sovereignty.

Diaspora: (from the Hebrew) literally, dispersion; implies displacement or dispersal by force, but is also used to refer to the transnational community that arose as a result of such dispersal.

Difference feminism: A form of feminism that holds that there are ineradicable differences between women and men, whether these are rooted in biology, culture or material experience.

Diplomacy: A process of negotiation and communication between states that seeks to resolve conflict without recourse to war; an instrument of foreign policy.

Diplomatic immunity: A collection of rights and dispensations that accredited diplomats enjoy in foreign countries, usually including freedom from arrest and trial on criminal charges and privileged travel and communication arrangements.

Direct action: Political action taken outside the constitutional and legal framework; direct action may range from passive resistance to terrorism.

Dirty hands, problem of: The problem that it may (arguably) be necessary for politicians to transgress accepted moral codes for the sake of the political community, making it right to do wrong.

Disarmament: The reduction of fighting capacity, either through scaling-down or eliminating arms or, more likely, categories of weapons.

Discourse: Human interaction, especially communication; discourse may disclose or illustrate power relations.

Division of labour: The process whereby productive tasks become separated and more specialized in order to promote economic efficiency.

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E

Ecocentrism: A theoretical orientation that gives priority to the maintenance of ecological balance rather than the achievement of human ends.

Ecological footprint: A measure of ecological capacity based on the hectares of biologically productive land that are needed to supply a given person’s consumption of natural resources and absorb their waste.

Ecologism: A political ideology that is based on the belief that nature is an interconnected whole, embracing humans and non-humans, as well as the inanimate world.

Economic individualism: The belief that individuals are entitled to autonomy in matters of economic decision-making; economic individualism is sometimes taken to be synonymous with private property and implies laissez-faire (see p. 103).

Economic sovereignty: The absolute authority which the state exercises over economic life conducted within its borders, involving independent control of fiscal and monetary policies, and over trade and capital flows.

Egoism: Concern for one’s own interest or wellbeing, or selfishness; the belief that one’s own interests are morally superior to those of others.

Embedded liberalism: A form of liberalism that seeks to reconcile the efficiency of markets with the broader values of social community.

Emissions trading: A mechanism that allows parties to the Kyoto Protocol to buy or sell emissions from or to other parties, while keeping within overall emissions targets.

Empire: A structure of domination in which diverse cultures, ethnic groups or nationalities are subject to a single source of authority.

Enlightenment, the: An intellectual movement that challenged traditional beliefs in religion, politics and learning in general in the name of reason and progress.

Enlightenment, The: An intellectual movement that reached its height in the eighteenth century and challenged traditional beliefs in religion, politics and learning in general in the name of reason and progress.

Entropy: A tendency towards decay or disintegration, a characteristic exhibited, sooner or later, by all closed systems.

Essentialism: The belief that biological factors are crucial in determining psychological and behavioural traits.

Ethnic cleansing: A euphemism that refers to the forcible expulsion of an ethnic group or groups in the cause of racial purity, often involving genocidal violence.

Ethnic cleansing: The forcible expulsion or extermination of ‘alien’ peoples; often used as a euphemism for genocide.

Ethnic group: A group of people who share a common cultural and historical identity, typically linked to a belief in common descent.

Ethnic nationalism: A form of nationalism that emphasizes the organic and usually ethnic unity of the nation and aims to protect or strengthen its national ‘spirit’ and cultural sameness.

Ethnocentrism: A mode of understanding in which the actions or intentions of other groups or peoples are understood through the application of values and theories drawn from the observer’s own culture or experience.

Eurocentrism: The application of values and theories drawn from European culture to other groups and peoples, implying a biased or distorted viewpoint.

Eurocentrism: The application of values and theories drawn from European culture to other groups or peoples, implying a biased or distorted viewpoint.

Exchange rate: The price at which one currency is exchanged for another.

External sovereignty: The absolute and unlimited authority of the state as an actor on the world stage, implying the absence of any higher authority in external affairs.

Externality: A cost of an economic activity that has wider impact but does not feature on the balance sheet of a business or form part of the GDP of a country.

Extraordinary rendition: The extra-legal transport of foreign terrorist suspects to third countries for interrogation.

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F

Fair trade: Trade that satisfies moral, and not merely economic, criteria, related to alleviating poverty and respecting the interests of sellers and producers in poorer areas.

Federalism: A territorial distribution of power based on a sharing of sovereignty between central (national or international) bodies and peripheral ones (see p. 128)

Feudalism: A system of agrarian-based production that is characterized by fixed social hierarchies and a rigid pattern of obligations.

Financialization: The reconstruction of the finances of businesses, public bodies and individual citizens to allow them to borrow money and so raise their spending.

First strike: A pre-emptive or surprise attack on an adversary; ‘getting one’s retaliation in first’.

First-wave feminism: The early form of feminism from the mid-nineteenth century to the 1960s, which was based on the liberal goal of sexual equality in the areas of legal and political rights, particularly suffrage rights.

Food dumping: The donation of surplus food to poor countries for free or at cheap rates in order to maintain market shares or prop up global prices.

Foreign: (from the Latin foris meaning ‘outside’) Dealing or concerned with another country, area or people; implies strange or not familiar.

Fossil fuels: Fuels that are formed through the decomposition of buried dead organisms, making them rich in carbon; examples include oil, natural gas and coal.

Free trade area: An area within which states agree to reduce tariffs and other barriers to trade.

Free trade: a system of trade between states not restricted by tariffs or other forms of protectionism.

Free trade: A system of trading between states that is unrestricted by tariffs or other forms of protectionism.

Functionalism: The theory that government is primarily responsive to human needs; functionalism is associated with incremental steps towards integration, within specific areas of policy-making, at a pace controlled by constituent states.

Fundamentalism: A style of thought in which certain principles are recognized as essential truths that have unchallengeable and overriding authority, often associated with fierce, and sometimes fanatical, commitment.

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G

Gender Empowerment Measure: A measure used by the UN to assess the extent of gender inequality in states based on the ratio of estimated female-to-male earned income and the proportion of female legislators, senior officials, managers and professional and technical workers.

Gender mainstreaming: The attempt to ‘mainstream’ gender into decision-making processes by requiring that, before decisions are made, an analysis is carried out of their likely effects on women and men respectively.

Gender: A social and cultural distinction between males and females, usually based on stereotypes of ‘masculinity’ and ‘femininity’ (see p. 416).

Gender-related Development Index: A measure used by the UN to rank states on the basis of sexual equality in terms of life expectancy, adult literacy rates, enrolment in education and estimated earned income.

German problem: The structural instability in the European state-system caused by the emergence of a powerful and united Germany.

Glasnost: (Russian) Literally, ‘openness’; used in the Soviet Union to refer to freedom of expression within the context of a one-party communist state.

Global commons: Areas and natural resources that are unowned and so beyond national jurisdiction, examples including the atmosphere, the oceans and, arguably, Antarctica.

Global warming: An increase in the Earth’s temperature, widely believed to be due to heat trapped by greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide.

Globalism: An ideological project committed to the spread of globalization, usually reflecting support for the values and theories of free-market capitalism.

Globality: A totally interconnected whole, such as the global economy; the end-state of globalization.

Globalization: The emergence of a complex web of interconnectedness that means that our lives are increasingly shaped by events that occur, and decisions that are made, at a great distance from us (see p. 9)

Gold exchange standard: A payments system in which currencies are valued in terms of a currency that is itself on the ‘gold standard’ (its currency can be exchanged for gold).

Good governance: Standards for the process of decision-making in society, including (according to the UN) popular participation, respect for the rule of law, transparency, responsiveness, consensus orientation, equity and inclusiveness, effectiveness and efficiency, and accountability.

Governance: Broadly, the various ways in which social life is coordinated, of which government is merely one (see p. 125).

Green revolution: The introduction of pesticides and high-yield crops to boost agricultural productivity.

Green taxes: Taxes that penalize individuals or businesses for, for instance, the waste they generate, the pollution they cause, the emissions they generate or the finite resources they consume.

Greenhouse gases: Gases (such as carbon dioxide, water vapour, methane, nitrous oxide and ozone) that trap heat in the Earth’s lower atmosphere (see The greenhouse effect, p. 397).

Gross domestic product: The total value of all the goods and services produced in an economy, a measure of national income.

Groupthink: The phenomenon in which psychological and professional pressures conspire to encourage a group of decision-makers to adopt a unified and coherent position.

Guerrilla war: (Spanish) Literally, ‘little war’; an insurgency or ‘people’s’ war, fought by irregular troops using tactics that are suited to the terrain and emphasize mobility and surprise rather than superior firepower.

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H

Hard law: Law that is enforceable and so establishes legally binding obligations.

Hard power: The ability of one actor (usually but not necessarily a state) to influence another through the use of threats or rewards, typically involving military ‘sticks’ or economic ‘carrots’.

Hegemon: A leading or paramount power.

Hegemonic war: War that is fought to establish dominance of the entire world order by restructuring the global balance of power.

Hegemony: The ascendancy or domination of one element of a system over others; for Marxists, hegemony implies ideological domination (see p. 221).

Hierarchy: An organization that is based on graded ranks and a clear and usually top-down authority structure.

High politics: Issue areas that are of primary importance, usually taken to refer to defence and foreign policy generally, and particularly to matters of state self-preservation.

Holism: The belief that the whole is more than a collection of parts; holism implies that understanding is gained by recognizing the relationships amongst the parts.

Homogenization: The tendency for all parts or elements (in this case countries) to become similar or identical.

Humanitarian: Being concerned with the interests of humanity, specifically through a desire to promote the welfare or reduce the suffering of others; altruistic.

Humanitarianism: A concern about the wellbeing of humanity as a whole, typically expressed through acts of compassion, charity or philanthropy.

Hybridity: A condition of social and cultural mixing; the term has been derived from cross-breeding between genetically unalike plants or animals.

Hyperglobalism: The view that new, globalized economic and cultural patterns became inevitable once technology such as computerized financial trading, satellite communications, mobile phones and the Internet became widely available.

Hyperpower: A state that is vastly stronger than its potential rivals, and so dominates world affairs.

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I

Identity war: A war in which the quest for cultural regeneration, expressed though the demand that a people’s collective identity is publicly and politically recognized, is a primary motivation for conflict.

Identity: A relatively stable and enduring sense of selfhood; identity may be personal (unique to an individual), social (shared with a group) or human (shared with all people).

Imperial over-reach: The tendency for imperial expansion to be unsustainable as wider military responsibilities outstrip the growth of the domestic economy.

Import substitution: An economic strategy through which domestic industries are protected from foreign competition, at least during their infancy.

Incrementalism: The theory that decisions are made not in the light of clear-cut objectives, but through small adjustments dictated by changing circumstances.

Individualism: The belief in the supreme importance of the individual over any social group or collective body (see p. 150).

Individuality: Self-fulfilment achieved though the realization of one’s own distinctive or unique identity or qualities; that which distinguishes one person from all other people.

Information society: A society in which the crucial resource is knowledge/information, its primary dynamic force being the process of technological development and diffusion.

Institution: A body of norms, rules and practices that shape behaviour and expectations, without necessarily having the physical character of an international organization (see p. 433).

Insurgency: An armed uprising, involving irregular soldiers, which aims to overthrow the established regime.

Internal sovereignty: The notion of a supreme power/authority within the state, located in a body that makes decisions that are binding on all citizens, groups and institutions within the state’s territorial borders.

International humanitarian law: A body of international law, often identified as the laws of war, that seeks to protect combatants and non-combatants in conflict situations.

Internationalism: The theory or practice of politics based on cooperation or harmony among nations, as opposed to the transcendence of national politics (see p.64).

Internationalization: The growth of relations and movements (for instance, of goods, money, people, messages and ideas) across borders and between states, creating higher levels of interdependence.

Internet: A global network of networks that connects computers around the world; ‘virtual’ space in which users can access and disseminate online information.

Intervention: Forcible action taken by one state against another state, without the latter’s consent.

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J

Jihad: (Arabic) An Islamic term literally meaning ‘strive’ or ‘struggle’; although the term is sometimes equated with ‘holy war’ (lesser jihad), it is more properly understood as an inner struggle for faith (greater jihad).

Jurisprudence: The science or philosophy of law, or a system or body of law.

Jus ad bellum: A just recourse to war, reflected in principles that restrict the legitimate use of force.

Jus in bello: The just conduct of war, reflected in principles that stipulate how wars should be fought.

Just war: A war that in its purpose and conduct meets certain ethical standards, and so is (allegedly) morally justified.

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K

Keynesianism: A theory (developed by J. M. Keynes (see p. 105) or policy of economic management, associated with regulating aggregate demand to achieve full employment.

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L

Liberal feminism: A form of feminism that is grounded in the belief that sexual differences are irrelevant to personal worth and calls for equal rights for women and men in the public realm.

Liberal institutionalism: An approach to study that emphasizes the role of institutions (both formal and informal) in the realization of liberal principles and goals.

Liberal interventionism: The theory that liberal values and institutions are universally applicable and (in appropriate circumstances) should be promoted by intervention in the affairs of other states.

lnternational security: Conditions in which the mutual survival and safety of states is secured through measures taken to prevent or punish aggression, usually within a rule-governed international order.

Localization: A trend that favours the local as the basis for political action, cultural identity or economic organization, usually associated with the growing importance of sub-national governance.

Low politics: Issue areas that are seen not to involve a state’s vital national interests, whether in the foreign or the domestic sphere.

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M

Market fundamentalism: An absolute faith in the market, reflected in the belief that the market mechanism offers solutions to all economic and social problems.

Market: A system of commercial exchange shaped by the forces of demand and supply, and regulated by the price mechanism.

Marketization: The extension of market relationships, based on commercial exchange and material self-interest, across the economy and, possibly, society.

Masculinism: Gender bias that derives from the portrayal of male or masculine views as either superior or as objective and rational.

Matriarchy: Literally, rule by the mother (mater being Latin for mother); a society, whether historical or hypothesized, that is governed by women.

McDonaldization: The process whereby global commodities and commercial and marketing practices associated with the fast food industry have come to dominate more and more economic sectors (Ritzer 1993)

Melian dialogue: A dialogue between the Melians and the Athenians, quoted in Thucydides’ Peloponnesian War, in which the latter refused to accept the Melian wish to remain neutral in the conflict with Sparta, eventually besieging and massacring them.

Mercantilism: An economic philosophy, most influential in Europe from the fifteenth century to the late seventeenth century, which emphasizes the state’s role in managing international trade and guaranteeing prosperity.

Mercenaries: Hired soldiers in the service of a foreign power.

Microcredit: Very small loans for business investment, often given to people who cannot access traditional credit.

Militancy: Heightened or extreme commitment; a level of zeal and passion typically associated with struggle or war.

Militarism: A cultural or ideological phenomenon in which military priorities, ideas and values come to pervade the larger society.

Militarism: The achievement of ends by military means; or the spread of military ideas and values throughout civilian society.

Military prostitution: Prostitution that caters to, and is sometimes organized by, the military.

Mitigation: Moderating or reducing the impact of something; in particular, reducing greenhouse gas emissions in order to limit climate change.

Mixed-actor model: The theory that, while not ignoring the role of states and national governments, international politics is shaped by a much broader range of interests and groups.

Modernization theory: The theory that there is a single, linear path to development, reflected in the transformation of western countries from traditional, pre-industrial, agrarian societies to modern, industrial and mass consumption ones.

Modernization: The process though which societies become ‘modern’ or ‘developed’, usually implying economic advancement, technological development and the rational organization of political and social life.

Moral relativism: The belief that there are no absolute values, or a condition in which there is deep and widespread disagreement over moral issues.

Most favoured nation: A designation given to a country which is thereby entitled to all and any favourable trading terms that apply to other countries.

Multilateralism: A policy of acting in concert with other states or international organizations, or a system of coordinated relations amongst three or more actors (see p. 460).

Multi-level governance: A pattern of overlapping and interrelated public authority that stems from the growth, or growing importance, of supranational and subnational bodies.

Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD): A condition in which a nuclear attack by either state would only ensure its own destruction, as both possess an invulnerable second-strike capacity.

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N

National interest: Foreign policy goals, objectives or policy preferences that supposedly benefit a society as a whole (the foreign policy equivalent of the ‘public interest’) (see p. 130).

National self-determination: The principle that the nation is a sovereign entity; self-determination implies both national independence and democratic rule.

Natural law: A moral system to which human laws do, or should, conform; natural law lays down universal standards of conduct derived from nature, reason or God.

Natural rights: God-given rights that are fundamental to human beings and are therefore inalienable (they cannot be taken away)

Negative peace: Peace defined as a period when war is neither imminent nor actually being fought, although the forces that give rise to war remain in place.

Negative rights: Rights that are enjoyed by virtue of the inactivity of others, particularly government; often seen (somewhat misleadingly) as ‘freedoms from’.

Neofunctionalism: A revision of functionalism that recognizes that regional integration in one area generates pressures for further integration in the form of ‘spillover’.

Neoliberalism: A perspective on international politics that remodelled liberalism in the light of the challenge of realism, particularly neorealism; it emphasizes the scope for cooperative behaviour within the international system while not denying its anarchic character.

Neo-Marxism: An updated and revived form of Marxism that rejects determinism, the primacy of economics and the privileged status of the proletariat.

Neorealism: A perspective on international politics that modifies the power politics model by highlighting the structural constraints of the international system; sometimes called ‘new’ or structural realism.

Network: A means of co-ordinating social life through loose and informal relationships between people or organizations, usually for the purpose of knowledge dissemination or exchange; connections among a number of computers to share information and hardware.

New International Economic Order: Proposals for the reform of the world economy to provide better protection for developing countries by, amongst other things, altering the terms of trade, strengthening regulation and nationalizing foreign enterprises.

New Left: A current in leftist thought that rejected both orthodox communism and social democracy in favour of a new politics of liberation based on decentralization and participatory democracy.

New politics: A style of politics that distrusts representative mechanisms and bureaucratic processes in favour of strategies of popular mobilization and direct action.

New terrorism: A form of terrorism that is supposedly more radical and devastating than ‘traditional’ terrorism because of the nature of its organization, political character, motivations and strategies.

Nihilism: Literally a belief in nothing; the rejection of all conventional moral and political principles.

Non-Aligned Movement: An organization of countries, founded in Belgrade in 1961, that avoided formal political and economic affiliation with either of the Cold War power blocs and committed themselves to values such as peaceful coexistence and mutual non-interference.

Non-intervention: The principle that states should not interfere in the internal affairs of other states.

Non-tariff barriers: Rules, regulations or practices that hinder imports through, for instance, the procurement policies of governments, systematic border delays, or complex health and national standards.

Nuclear proliferation: The spread of nuclear weapons, either by their acquisition by more states or other actors (horizontal proliferation), or their accumulation by established nuclear states (vertical proliferation).

Nuclear umbrella: Protection afforded non-nuclear states or minor nuclear powers by guarantees made to them by major nuclear powers; a form of extended deterrent.

Nuclear weapons: Weapons that use nuclear fission (atom bombs) or nuclear fusion (hydrogen bombs) to destroy their targets, through the effect of blast, heat and radiation.

Nuclear winter: The theory that the smoke and dust created by nuclear explosions would extinguish the sun’s rays and dramatically lower temperatures on the earth.

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O

Occidentalism: A rejection of the cultural and political inheritance of the West, particularly as shaped by the Reformation and the Enlightenment; another term for anti-westernism.

Offensive realism: A form of structural realism that portrays states as ‘power maximizers’, as there is no limit to their desire to control the international environment.

Orientalism: Stereotypical depictions of ‘the Orient’ or Eastern culture generally which are based on distorted and invariably demeaning western assumptions.

Ozone depletion: A decline in the total amount of ozone in the Earth’s stratosphere, particularly the development of a so-called ‘ozone hole’ over the Antarctic.

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P

Pacifism: A commitment to peace and a rejection of war or violence in any circumstances (‘pacific’ derives from the Latin and means ‘peace-making’).

Pacta sunt servanda: (Latin) The principle that treaties are binding on the parties to them and must be executed in good faith.

Pan-nationalism: A style of nationalism dedicated to unifying a disparate people through either expansionism or political solidarity (‘pan’ means all or every).

Paradigm: A related set of principles, doctrines and theories that help to structure the process of intellectual enquiry.

Pariah state: A state whose behavioural norms place it outside the international community, leading to diplomatic isolation and attracting widespread condemnation.

Patriotism: Literally, love of one’s fatherland; a psychological attachment of loyalty to one’s nation or country.

Peace dividend: The opportunity afforded by the end of superpower rivalry to reduce military spending and increase economic and social expenditure, often described as turning ‘guns’ into ‘butter’.

Peace enforcement: Coercive measures, including the use of military force, used to restore peace and security in situations where acts of aggression have taken place.

Peacekeeping: A technique designed to preserve the peace when fighting has been halted, and to assist in implementing agreements achieved by the peacemakers (see p. 444).

Peak oil: The point at which the maximum rate of petroleum extraction is reached.

People-trafficking: The movement of persons, based on deception and coercion, with the purpose of exploiting them, usually through their sale into sexual or other forms of slavery.

Perestroika: (Russian) Literally, ‘restructuring’; used in the Soviet Union to refer to the introduction of market reforms to a command or planned economy.

Permissiveness: The willingness to allow people to make their own moral choices; permissiveness suggests that there are no authoritative values.

Polarity: The existence within a system of one or more significant actors, or ‘poles’, which affect the behaviour of other actors and shape the contour of the system itself, determining its structural dynamics.

Policy network: A systematic set of relationships between political actors who share a common interest or general orientation in a particular area, typically cutting across formal institutional arrangements and the divide between government and non-governmental bodies.

Pooled sovereignty: The combined sovereignty of two or more states; ‘pooling’ sovereignty implies gaining access to greater power and influence than state/national sovereignty.

Pooled sovereignty: The sharing of decision-making authority by states within a system of international cooperation, in which certain sovereign powers are transferred to central bodies.

Positive freedom: Freedom defined in terms of self-realization and the development of human capacities; freedom to be or do something.

Positive law: A system of enforceable commands that operates irrespective of their moral content.

Positive peace: Peace defined in terms of harmony and wholeness; the absence not just of war but of the causes of war.

Positive rights: Rights that can only be enjoyed through positive intervention on the part of government, often linked to the idea of ‘freedom to’.

Positivism: The theory that social and indeed all forms of enquiry should conform to the methods of the natural sciences.

Post-industrial society: A society based on service industries, rather than on manufacturing industries, and accompanied by a significant growth in the white-collar workforce.

Postmodernism: An intellectual tradition that is based on the belief that truth is always contested and plural; sometimes summed up as ‘an incredulity towards metanarratives’ (Lyotard 1984).

Post-positivism: An approach to knowledge that questions the idea of an ‘objective’ reality, emphasizing instead the extent to which people conceive, or ‘construct’; the world in which they live.

Poverty cycle: A set of circumstances that tend to make poverty self-perpetuating through its wider impact on health, civic order, political and economic performance and so on.

Power politics: An approach to politics based on the assumption that the pursuit of power is the principal human goal; the term is sometimes used descriptively.

Precautionary principle: The presumption in favour of action in relation to major ecological and other issues over which there is scientific uncertainty, based on the fact that the costs of inaction vastly exceed the cost of (possibly unnecessary) action.

Primordialism: The theory that nations are ancient and deep-rooted, fashioned variously out of psychology, culture and biology.

Protectionism: The use of tariffs, quotas and other measures to restrict imports, supposedly to protect domestic industries.

Public good: A good or service that, by its nature, benefits everyone, meaning that no party can be denied access to it.

Purchasing power parity: A calculation of purchasing power that takes account of the relative cost of living and the inflation rates of different countries, sometimes based on the ‘international dollar’.

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Q

Qualified majority voting: A system of voting in which different majorities are needed on different issues, with states’ votes weighted (roughly) according to size.

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R

Race: A group of people who (supposedly) share the same physical or biological characteristics, based on common descent.

Radical feminism: A form of feminism that holds gender divisions to be the most politically significant of social cleavages, and believes that these are rooted in the structures of family or domestic life.

Realpolitik: (German) Literally, realistic or practical politics; a form of politics or diplomacy that is guided by practical considerations, rather than by ideals, morals or principles.

Rebus sic stantibus: The doctrine that states can terminate their obligations under a treaty if a fundamental change of circumstances has occurred.

Recession: A period of general economic decline that is part of the usual business cycle.

Relational power: The ability of one actor to influence another actor or actors in a manner not of their choosing.

Relative gains: The position of states in relation to one another, reflected in the distribution of benefits and capabilities between and amongst them (see p. 436).

Relative poverty: A standard of poverty in which people are deprived of the living conditions and amenities which are customary in the society to which they belong.

Relativism: The belief that ideas and values are valid only in relation to particular social, cultural and historical conditions, implying that there are no universal truths (epistemological relativism) or no universal values (moral or cultural relativism).

Renaissance: From the French, literally meaning ‘rebirth’; a cultural movement inspired by revived interest in classical Greece and Rome that saw major developments in learning and the arts.

Reparations: Compensation, usually involving financial payments or the physical requisition of goods, imposed by victors on vanquished powers either as punishment or as a reward.

Reprisal: An act of retaliation designed either to punish a wrongdoer or redress an injury; reprisal suggests proportionality and usually stops short of war.

Resource curse: The tendency for countries and regions with an abundance of natural resources to experience low growth, blocked development and, sometimes, civil strife.

Resource security: Security understood in terms of access to energy and other resources sufficient to meet a state’s economic and military needs.

Resource war: A war that is fought to gain or retain control of resources which are important to economic development and political power.

Responsible sovereignty: The idea that state sovereignty is conditional upon how a state treats its citizens, based on the belief that the state’s authority arises ultimately from sovereign individuals.

Revolution in military affairs: The development in the USA in particular of new military strategies, based on ‘high-tech’ technology and ‘smart’ weapons, aimed at achieving swift and decisive outcomes.

Rule of law: The principle that law should ‘rule’ in the sense that it establishes a framework within which all conduct and behaviour takes place.

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S

Scriptural literalism: A belief in the literal truth of sacred texts, which as the revealed word of God have unquestionable authority.

Second strike: A retaliatory attack on an adversary in response to a first-strike attack.

Second-wave feminism: The form of feminism that emerged in the 1960s and 1970s, and was characterized by a more radical concern with ‘women’s liberation’, including, and perhaps especially, in the private sphere.

Secularism: The belief that religion should not intrude into secular (worldly) affairs, usually reflected in the desire to separate church from state.

Secularization thesis: The theory that modernization is invariably accompanied by the victory of reason over religion and the displacement of spiritual values by secular ones.

Security community: A region in which the level of cooperation and integration amongst states makes war or the use of large-scale violence unlikely, if not impossible.

Security dilemma: The dilemma that arises from the fact that a build-up of military capacity for defensive reasons by one state is always liable to be interpreted as aggressive by other states (see p. 19).

Security paradox: The paradox that a build-up of military capacity designed to strengthen national security may be counter-productive, as it can encourage other states to adopt more threatening and hostile postures.

Security regime: A framework of cooperation amongst states and other actors to ensure the peaceful resolution of conflict (see international regime, p. 67).

Security: To be safe from harm, the absence of threats; security may be understood in ‘national’, ‘international’, ‘global’ or ‘human’ terms.

Self-actualization: Personal fulfilment brought about by the refinement of sensibilities; self-actualization is usually linked to the transcendence of egoism and materialism.

Self-determination: The principle that the state should be a self-governing entity, enjoying sovereign independence and autonomy within the international system.

Self-help: A reliance on internal or inner resources, often seen as the principal reason states prioritize survival and security.

Self-help: A state’s reliance on its own capacities and resources, rather than external support, to ensure security and survival.

Shallow ecology: A green ideological perspective that harnesses the lessons of ecology to human needs and ends, and is associated with values such as sustainability and conservation.

Shared sovereignty: A constitutional arrangement in which sovereignty is divided between two levels of government, each exercising supreme and autonomous control over a specific range of issues.

Shari’a: (Arabic) Literally the ‘way’ or ‘path’; divine Islamic law, based on principles expressed in the Koran.

Social capital: Cultural and moral resources, such as networks, norms and trust, that help to promote social cohesion, political stability and prosperity.

Social class: Broadly, a group of people who share a similar social and economic position, based either on their relationship to the means of production or on the income and status of their occupational group.

Social conservatism: The belief that societies should be based on a bedrock of shared values and a common cultures, providing a necessary social ‘cement’.

Social Darwinism: The belief that social existence is characterized by competition or struggle, ‘the survival of the fittest’, implying that international conflict and probably war are inevitable.

Social democracy: A moderate or reformist brand of socialism that favours a balance between the market and the state, rather than the abolition of capitalism.

Social ecology: The idea that ecological principles can and should be applied to social organization, a term originally used mainly by eco-anarchists.

Social market: An economy that is structured by market principles and largely free from government interference, operating in a society in which cohesion is maintained through a comprehensive welfare system and effective welfare services.

Social reflexivity: The tendency of individuals and other social actors to reflect, more or less continuously, on the conditions of their own actions, implying higher levels of self-awareness, self-knowledge and contemplation.

Soft law: Law that is not binding and cannot be enforced; quasi-legal instruments that impose only moral obligations.

Soft power: The ability to influence other actors by persuading them to follow or agree to norms and aspirations that produce the desired behaviour.

Sovereign equality: The principle that, regardless of other differences, states are equal in the rights, entitlements and protections they enjoy under international law.

Sovereignty: The principle of absolute and unlimited power; the absence of a higher authority in either domestic or external affairs (see p. 3).

Spillover: A process through which the creation and deepening of integration in one economic area creates pressure for further economic integration, and, potentially , for political integration.

Spillover: The dynamic process whereby integration in one policy area tends to ‘spill over’ into other areas, as new goals and new pressures are generated.

State of nature: A society devoid of political authority and of formal (legal) checks on the individual.

State terrorism: Terrorism carried out by government bodies such as the police, military or intelligence agencies.

State-building: The construction of a functioning state through the establishment of legitimate institutions for the formulation and implementation of policy across key areas of government.

State-centrism: An approach to political analysis that takes the state to be the key actor in the domestic realm and on the world stage.

Statecraft: The art of conducting public affairs, or the skills associated with it; statesmanship.

State-system: A pattern of relationships between and amongst states that establishes a measure of order and predictability(see p. 6).

Structural power: The ability to shape the frameworks within which global actors relate to one another, thus affecting ‘how things shall be done’.

Structural violence: A form of violence that stems from social structures that perpetuate domination, oppression or exploitation, as opposed to ‘direct violence’ which stems (supposedly) from individual or group motivations.

Suicide terrorism: A form of terrorism in which the perpetrator (or perpetrators) intends to kill himself or herself in the process of carrying out the attack.

Supraterritoriality: A condition in which social life transcends territory through the growth of ‘transborder’ and ‘transglobal’ communications and interactions.

Sustainability: The capacity of a system to maintain its health and continuing existence over a period of time.

Systems theory: An approach to study that focuses on works of ‘systems’, explaining their operation and development in terms of reciprocal interactions amongst component parts.

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T

Technological determinism: A theory of history in which technological innovation and development is assumed to be the principal motor of social, economic or political change.

Terms of trade: The balance between import prices and export prices.

The state: A political association that establishes sovereign jurisdiction within defined territorial borders (see p. 114).

Theocracy: Literally, rule by God; the principle that religious authority should prevail over political authority, usually through the domination of church over state.

Theoretical reflexivity: An awareness of the impact of the values and presuppositions that a theorist brings to analysis, as well as an understanding of the historical dynamics that have helped to fashion them.

Time/space compression: The idea that, in a globalized world, time and space are no longer significant barriers to communications and interaction.

Tobin tax: A transaction tax on foreign currency dealings, proposed by the US economist James Tobin.

Torture: The infliction of intense physical or mental pain or suffering as a means of punishment or in order to gain information or a confession.

Total war: A war involving all aspects of society, including large-scale conscription, the gearing of the economy to military ends, and the aim of achieving unconditional surrender through the mass destruction of enemy targets, civilian and military.

Total war: A war involving all aspects of society, including large-scale conscription, the gearing of the economy to military ends, and the aim of achieving unconditional surrender through the mass destruction of enemy targets, civilian and military.

Traditionalism: A belief in the value of tradition and continuity, providing society with a historically-rooted sense of identity.

Tragic individualization: The condition in which the individual, through the failure of science, politics and other expert systems to manage risk, is forced to cope with the uncertainty of the global world by him or herself.

Transition countries: Former Soviet bloc countries that are in the process of transition from central planning to market capitalism.

Transnational: A configuration, which may apply to events, people, groups or organizations, that takes little or no account of national government or state borders; transnational as distinct from ‘international’ and ‘multinational’.

Transnationalism: Political, social, economic or other forms that transcend or cut across national borders.

Treaty: A formal agreement between two or more states that is considered binding in international law.

Trickle down: The theory that the introduction of free-market policies will, in time, benefit the poor and not only the rich through an increase in economic growth and a general rise in living standards.

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U

Underclass: A poorly defined and politically controversial term that refers, broadly, to people who suffer from multiple deprivation (unemployment or low pay, poor housing, inadequate education and so on).

Uneven development: The tendency within a capitalist economy for industries, economic sectors and countries to develop at very different rates due to the pressures generated by the quest for profit, competition and economic exploitation.

Unilateralism: One-sidedness; a policy determined by the interests and objectives of a single state, unconstrained by other states and bodies.

Universalism: The belief that it is possible to uncover certain values and principles that are applicable to all people and all societies, regardless of historical, cultural and other differences.

Utilitarianism: A moral philosophy that equates ‘good’ with pleasure or happiness, and ‘evil’ with pain or unhappiness, and aims to achieve ‘the greatest happiness for the greatest number’ (the principle of general utility).

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V

​Volksgeist: (German) Literally, the spirit of the people; the organic identity of a people revealed in their culture and particularly their language.

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W

War crime: A violation of the laws or customs of war, for which individuals can be held to be criminally responsible.

War rape: Rape committed by soldiers, other combatants or civilians during armed conflict or war.

Warlordism: A condition in which locally-based militarized bands vie for power in the absence of a sovereign state.

Weapons of mass destruction: A category of weapons that covers nuclear, radiological, chemical and biological weapons, which have a massive and indiscriminate destructive capacity.

Welfare state: A state that takes prime responsibility for the social welfare of its citizens, discharged through a range of social security, health, education and other services (albeit different in different counties).

Wilsonianism: An approach to foreign policy that emphasizes the promotion of democracy as a means of ensuring peace, in line with the ideas of Woodrow Wilson (see p. 438).

World order: The distribution of power between and amongst states and other key actors giving rise to a relatively stable pattern of relationships and behaviours.

World Wide Web: A hypertext-based system that gives users of the Internet access to a collection of online documents stored on servers around the world; often simply called WWW or the Web.

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