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(Another not-likely-to-publish piece. This one for the Ph.D. core-course in international relations.)

There is some humour in the story, which is not entirely without factual basis, that the formal declaration of the opening of an English school of international relations preceded calls for its closure by nearly three sentences. In January of 1981, Roy E. Jones declared the discovery of this new school, whose residents, he thought, should immediately be evicted into a life of better and more fruitful pursuits (Jones 1). While that particular clarion call may be easily dismissed, given how it was liberally peppered with pinches of polemic and garnished with straw-men, the spirit and the reasoning behind the scepticism has remained with us.

In particular, questions as to the ontology, the logic, and the methodology of the principle figures of the school, if not the school as a whole, have been raised. Dale C. Copeland, for instance, has pointedly critiqued the logic and methodology of the school so as to suggest the ineffectiveness of its methods, if not the tautological thinking of its paragons (Copeland: 2003). Claire Cutler, by her token, generally suspects the methodology and ontology of Hedley Bull to lean in the direction of a positivist monism in an alarming fashion (Cutler: 1991). These criticism's develop, perhaps in a slightly more constructive manner, Jones' thematic charges that the school as a whole suffers from a lack of intellectual rigour with regards to definitions (Jones 5-6), coupled with an unhealthy case of metaphysics and idealism (2-3).

For reply, the works of Andrew Linklater, Richard Little, and Hedley Bull himself can be pointed to. All three present images of the school's resources with regards to logic, definitions, methodology and ontological presuppositions that are theoretically defensible and well-grounded. Linklater's overview of the "rationalist" school (a sobriquet coined by Martin Wight, and often applied to or adopted by members of those here referred to generally as of the "English" school) details the self-understanding of its members as representing the via media between "realists" and "revolutionists". Richard Little, by turn, seeks to qualify, if not overturn, this conventional understanding of the school by presenting it, not as the via media in Linklater's sense, but as one which practices a sort of methodological and ontological pluralism. Bull's magnum opus, The Anarchical Society, is an acknowledged bulwark of the school's canon, and provides a, if not "the", methodological and theoretical foundation for its members work of late -- especially with regards to the limits, possibilities, and distinctive qualities of an international society, as opposed to those of either an international system, or a world society.

It will be the task here to outline, in detail, the strongest critiques levelled against the school and to then address the issue of the possibility of a defence against its foreclosure. To do so, the review will proceed to summarize the extent to which the reasonable challenges issued by Copeland, Cutler, and Jones may be addressed or overturned by reference to the contributions to the debate made by Linklater and Little, and to the ground-laying work of Hedley Bull himself.

The criticisms: Foundations
The chief criticisms which have been levelled against the school make reference to a certain lack of rigour as to its definitions and a priori assumptions (Jones), its practised methods and logic (Copeland), or its positivist monism (Cutler). Given that the definitions and suppositional foundations of a school -- whether consciously applied or not -- provide the basis for its practice, it is reasonable to begin with an examination of Jones' recriminations.

Generally, it seems that the scholar takes issue with what he perceives among the school, to be a tendency towards 'phenomenological idealism' -- a category which, oddly, seems to include not only German philosophers such as Husserl and Hegel, but also non-idealists and non-phenomenologists such as Plato and other Greek thinkers (Jones 3). More specifically however, by Jones' account, the practitioners of the school are severely hampered by a lack of proper theoretical definitions with regards to several key terms: "system", "society", "sovereign(s)" and "sovereignty", "state(s)", and "constitution(s)" (4-6, 11). In essence, the charge may be recounted as something like the following: that the chief luminaries of the school (named as Charles Manning, and Martin Wight, with Hedley Bull, along with Michael Donelan, F.S. Northedge, and Robert Purnell named as their chief epigones) have either failed to distinguish those terms from one another, have done so in a spurious manner, or, as in the case of "balance of power" have "reified" them in some sense.

Chiefly then, the argument is made that its members have largely failed to provide an empirical, factual association for the terms adumbrated, thereby leading them into a sort of meaningless, circular speech without concrete referents. In example, with regards to the definition of a society of states, Jones writes, "International society as a whole is affirmed in its existence; it is made up of states; states are described as sovereign; therefore sovereignty means membership of this society. By such logic, of course, sovereignty means nothing whatever. The convolutions of members of the English school in attempting to avoid this
would constitute the material of a separate study." (4)

Further along, the author faintly praises Bull, unlike Manning, for avoiding both the apparent fallacy of illustrating his points by way of metaphor, and of tautologically defining the society of states. He then balances this commendation with a criticism of Bull's perceived tendency towards the use of anachronism as a means of distinguishing a "system of states" from a "society of states". As illustrations of this, Jones points to Bull's use of the relationship of Turkey to Europe in the 19th century, the relationship of the ancient Greek poleis to each other, and the modern state system (4). The author, does not, however, indicate what gives these examples their 'anachronistic' character. It may, however, be provisionally deduced that Jones supposes that the logic of international society, as defined by Bull, is strongly progressive and teleological. In such a case, the appearance, disappearance and reappearance of an international society would seem to be anachronistic. There is, however, no apparent reason to think that Bull himself thinks that history was teleological in such a fashion, or that international society necessarily followed a progressive trend (Bull 90-94). Quite to the contrary, Bull has called the international society of the contemporary era 'precarious', and noted its characteristic differences from the international societies of previous epochs (13-16, 26-38). Indeed, the very quintessence of international society so-described is its anarchic structure and the quasi-voluntary manner by which states are comprised into its order (Bull 16-19; Bull:1995, 83-85; Cutler 55-56).

More to the point, Jones does not note, as Linklater, and Little indicate, and both Copeland and Cutler acknowledge, that Bull posits the sovereignty of states to be a particular attribute of the body of rules, the acceptance of which comprise states in the contemporary international society (Copeland 1, Cutler 54-55, Linklater 107, Little 17). His suspicion of the circularity of the school's definition of both "sovereignty", "the system of states", and the "society of states" is largely vitiated by this observation. The objection with regards to the working definition of "constitution(s)" also seems out of place, given the little evidence provided to indicate that members of the English school (save perhaps Manning) habitually employ the term to exclusively refer to the founding legal principles of a state, as Jones suspects (Jones 5). It is equally probable that the term is employed, on any particular occasion, as a synonym for "regime". Or it may indicate a political order in the sense of an observable relationship of parts to a whole -- the parts consisting of individuals and groups who fall under a common body of rules and government (Bull 3-5). Certainly, in this sense, a state, particularly a nation-state, is a type of constitution, and one distinct from other types, such as nomadic tribes or Greek poleis. The objection that not all states have constitutions, and thus not all states are 'constitutionally self-contained' as supposedly presupposed by the English school's members, therefor lacks the evidence needed for a hearing. It is not at all proven that the English school as a whole believes constitutions, in Jones' legalistic sense, to be whatsoever important to the study of international relations.

The criticisms: Logic, Ontology, and Methodology
Copeland's rather less waggish, but more balanced, critique of the school focuses on both the logic and the methodology employed by its affiliates, and determines the first to be circular, and the second to be thin and ineffective. Cutler, on the other hand, focuses her critique on Bull's logic and methodology, which she perceives to be exercised in a manner inconsistent with his a priori assumptions. In particular, she assesses that his intended methodological pluralism, leads, in practice, to a sort of monism which is underpinned by positivist and realist leanings.

1. Copeland's charges
The threefold objections of Mr. Copeland can be summarized as follows: (1) The English school deploys no effective causal logic which can account for the phenomena of international relations, for international society 'as a concept' has not been refined as a causal, or independent, variable, (2) It remains to be explained how international society should effect 'the probability of international co-operation over time', (3) That causal salience must be tested through documentary research (439)

The rub of Copeland's critique therefor boils down to an indictment of its perceived causal logic. By his estimation, that logic amounts to positing an independent variable or cause (international society), which, by some mechanism, gives rise to a dependent variable, or effect (greater international cooperation or order among states) (431).

Copeland accepts that the interpretative or descriptive approach, which is said to be favoured for discerning, measuring and delving into the workings of international society, has some validity (428). However, he observes that the most reasonable approach to measuring international society by these means -- an interpretative review of historical materials for the sake of discerning the elite perceptions of the rules and norms of that society -- has largely been lacking. Furthermore, that basic error in the application of a methodology would seem to be further compounded by the mis-application of its opposite; rather than interpreting the historical records of elites, the school falls back on reflecting on the behaviour of states (432). Thus, in stead of understanding international society 'from the inside' via interpretative or hermeneutic methods, members of the English school have instead attempted to study it 'from the outside' via positivist measurements of, "the number of agreements actors sign, the extent to which states form institutions, diplomatic pronouncements of states' willingness to work with each other, and so on." (432). Properly applied, such an approach, "...would fit with the point that the English School is, by its nature, driven by a largely interpretative methodology; as with constructivism, because rules and norms are intersubjectively shared ideas, one must examine as well as possible the way leaders thought, rather than their external behaviour." (431)

As a result, the scholar posits that the independent variable's very existence, let alone its qualities, has not been adequately established. An attendant complication is seen also to arise from the misapplication of the positivist method, in that evidence of international co-operation -- in the form of agreements, pronouncements, etceteras -- is simultaneously construed as evidence of international society. The logic, in the author's words, thus becomes 'unfalsifiable' and simply, 'a description of changes in the international order over time, rather than a causal explanation.' (432).

In essence then, Copeland charges that the cause-effect logic employed by the English school is circular in practice, if not in theory. By way of constructive advice, he first proposes that the school's subscribers more clearly conceptualize their independent variable -- international society. On this mark, he praises the work of Barry Buzan, who conceptualizes that society as ranging in its profundity from extreme plurality (marked by the stressing of states of their sovereign independence, and a-sociability) to extreme solidarity (marked by deep and widely shared norms and values). Secondly, he indicates that the causal mechanism by which this society effects international co-operation must be clarified, and suggests the work of rational choice theory and regime theory as models for emulation. Third, and finally, the author suggests that initiates of the school focus greater attention on diplomatic documents as a means of demonstrating that international society 'matters' -- that it can truly be credited as a cause for a given effect. That said, he then professes doubt that they will find much evidence of great powers sacrificing power and security for the pursuit of international norms, much as he doubts that the school can contribute much theoretic novelty to the IR debate (440-441). Copeland, can thus be said to be skeptical of the potential of the English school, even should it employ the fixes he deems necessary.

A number of potential responses to the charges suggest themselves from the Bull's 1977 work, The Anarchical Society, which shall be addressed in order. As to the first charge, that the English school operates under no effective causal logic whatever, two objections might be raised. Firstly, Copeland's definition of logic, for the purposes of his analysis, refers to the familiar cause-effect structure. By this, it is meant that a statement or verbal observation may be deemed "logical" should it's independent variable, or cause, be shown to result in a change to a dependent variable, or effect, by way of some causal mechanism. The former may effect the latter in the sense of inducing some change, it may bring the latter into being for the first time, or may cause it to pass away. By "causal mechanism", it should be understood that one refers to the means by which the effect is produced.

The difficulty here is that evidence suggests that Hedley Bull, at the very least, is not operating under the same definition of logic as Copeland. Rather than adopting the structure of the usual cause-effect logic familiar to the American study of international relations, Bull seems to be utilizing Aristotelian logic. This much is at least suggested by his reference to 'efficient causation', his citation of Aristotle vis-à-vis the types or kinds of justice, and his allusion to order as the final cause of international society (Bull 71, 75-78, 63-64). If such be the case, it would appear that the actual structure of Bull's logic would not follow the familiar pattern, but rather one of material cause + efficient cause + formal cause --> final cause. While the implications of this causal structure for the study of Bull are beyond the scope of this review, it bears mentioning that an analysis of his logic -- if perhaps not that of other members of the school -- requires a different conceptual model than that employed by Copeland. Quite simply stated, Copeland mightn't perceive the logic, because he is not looking for the right kind of logic.

Secondly, on the issue of definitions, one may employ Bull to shed some light, and to observe some difficulties with Copeland's own charges. The chief of these, of course, is the apparent conflation of international society with international co-operation. To this, one might first object as to Copeland's own definition of co-operation, which he supposes to be conflated with society; it is difficult, on its face, to assess the strength of the author's charges without knowing what he himself means by "co-operation", except that it is apparently what he supposes the English school to mean by "society". Nevertheless, setting that curious tautology aside, one may charitably hypothesize that he means by it something like "working together peacefully towards a common end". Thus, one would, at the bare minimum, expect co-operation to be a peaceful state. That being the case, Copeland's protestation that the school's scions have not demonstrated that international society results in peace seems rather strong.

The difficulty with this, however, is that, as both Cutler and Little observe, neither Wight nor Bull supposed that international society results in a peaceful state. For Wight, that society stood as one variable among three in the field of international relations, the others being the concomitant pulls towards a-social, pluralistic anarchy (a purely realist, Hobbesian, or Machiavellian world), and towards world society (a revolutionary, cosmopolitan, Kantian world) (Cutler 51; Little 4, 8-9). Those three tensions may be further posited to participate in a dialectical relationship, which would again suggest a different sort of logic than Copeland's expected single causal variable (Little 9). In the case of Bull, Cutler argues that, far from being peaceable, Bull's international society prioritizes the order of the international system, and is ready and willing to wage war in defence of that norm (Cutler 57-58). Indeed, Bull's definition of international society is evidently not one which presupposes, or serves as a means to, peace. Quite to the contrary. As Bull observes, the society's rules regarding "balance of power", however nebulous they may be, quite often point in the direction of war and the annexation of minor powers for the preservation of either or both the balance itself and an international order of some sort (Bull ch.5).

On the subject of the definition of international society, one may again turn to Bull. Within the opening pages of The Anarchical Society, the author describes three elementary and universal goals of society as follows: 1) All societies seek to ensure that life will be in some measure secure against violence resulting in death or bodily harm, 2) All societies seek to ensure that promises, once made, will be kept, or that agreements, once undertaken, will be carried out, 3) All societies pursue the goal of ensuring that the possession of things will remain stable to some degree, and will not be subject to challenges that are constant and without limit. (4-6)

Regarding the possibility of a society of states, he then pens the following: "A society of states (or international society) exists when a group of states, conscious of certain common interests and common values, form a society in the sense that they conceive themselves to be bound by a common set of rules in their relations with one another, and share in the working of common institutions. If states today form an international society... this is becuase, recognising certain common interests and perhaps some common values, they regard themselves as bound by certain rules in their dealings with one another... An international society in this sense presupposes an international system, but an international system may exist that is not an international society." (13)

Later on, in chapter 3, Bull unpacks many of the terms with which this dense passage is peppered. The most salient, for our purposes are "common interests and common values", and "rules". He also expands upon the ontological differentiation of international society from international system. It is to this unpacking and differentiation which we must now turn in order to come to a reasonably unambiguous definition of international society.

With regards to common interests and values, Bull is quick to state that "To say that x is in someone's interest is merely to say that it serves as a means to some end that he is pursuing. Whether or not x does serves as a means to an particular end is a matter of objective fact. But whether or not x is in his interest will depend not only on this, but also on what ends he is actually pursing. It follows from this that the conception of interest is an empty or vacuous guide, both as to what a person does do and as to what he should do. To provide such a guide we need to know what ends he does or should pursue, and the conception of interest in itself tells us nothing about either." (63)

By this, Bull explains that "national interest", much like personal, individual interest, is a concept devoid of any eternal, fixed, or universal content. By extension, it is thus proposed that international society is a means by which states pursue the end of maintaining an anarchical order of states. That is to say that international society as a body is expressed through activities, guided by rules and institutions (centralized or otherwise), by which its members seek to pursue and maintain a common value: the continuity of a pluralistic anarchy of states (64). This, however, need not be a, let alone the, common value or interest. Alternate values may include Hobbes' a-social, anarchic war of all against all, a Kantian world state, or a world empire such as imagined by Genghis Khan or Alexander the Great. Only international society expresses the valuation of the anarchic order as such, and seeks to preserve it, even against the interests of peace or justice (Bull 90-94; Cutler 57-58). Rules, he continues, then provide some guidance as to the proper means by which to maintain that end, should that end remain valued (Bull 64-65). Types of such rules include rules of membership (i.e. states shall be members, but not transnational bodies), rules of coexistence (i.e. the rules of war, and the principle of pacta sunt servanda), and rules of co-operation -- all of which serve towards 'advanced' or 'secondary' goals of international society (65-68). States then compliment these rules through their engagement in common institutions by which their intentions, and degrees of compliance with the ends of international society, are communicated (68-71).

In short, Bull's definition of the society of states does not preclude, but also certainly does not prioritize, peaceful coexistence. Certain rules and institutions, such as the balance of power and nuclear deterrence, may in fact tilt in the direction of war and conquest, or else a balance of terror, as the relative gains or anti-social ambitions of one state forces appropriate responses from others (ch. 6). As Little puts the matter however, Bull's careful distinction between 'fortuitous' and 'contrived' balances of power points beyond simple, automatic, systemic mechanisms as a reliable means to maintain the system of states, to the role of society and language in its upkeep (Little 16). Thus, Copeland's charge that the English school has no proper definition of international society, and that its affiliates conflate it with international co-operation seems in error. First, Bull's definition seems rather robust. Secondly, it is certainly not conflatable with international co-operation, if by that Copeland means us to understand "working together peacefully towards a common end". Thirdly, it omits Bull's contention that international society is the means by which the system of states is maintained.

2. Cutler's charges
Cutler's criticisms take a substantially different tack. For one, they are aimed primarily at the work of Hedley Bull, not the English school as a whole. For another, they only tangentially take issue with the practice and consistency of Bull's logic and methodology. The true target of Cutler's skepticism is the particular ontological monism which is perceived to be underpinning that logic and those methods. To shed light on the nature of this skepticism, it is helpful to indulge first in a summation of the ontologically and methodologically pluralistic tradition from which Bull is suspected of breaking.

By the author's account, roots of the English school's chief luminaries -- among them Wight and Bull -- can be detected stretching back as far as Hugo Grotius (42-43). That jurist's works on the natural law, chief among them De Jure belli ac Pacis (Grotius:1625), are seen as seminal for a number of reasons. First, they provide among the first descriptive accounts of both the emergence of something like the modern international system of states, and the character of that system (Cutler 44). Secondly, they attempt to enunciate clear and reasonable limits to the recourse and conduct of war -- limits which, derived as they were from the law of nature, remained universal and prescriptive, independent of particular historical or geographical context (44-45). Thirdly, they provided a basis for the recognition of the status of individuals in international law, by rooting the legal basis for the state upon the patrimonial conception of sovereignty (45).

The limits to the recourse to and conduct of war find their apparent foundations within Stoic philosophy, which advances that human nature is 'sociable'. 'Sociableness' -- qualified as a trend towards peaceful and organized society among men -- becomes the measure of human norms and practices, which arise in conjunction with the reciprocity of mutual needs. This peaceful sociability is further argued to extend into the tendencies between both states and nations. Relations between states, in other words, possess a moral and ethical measure by nature (46-47). This tendency towards peace and sociability as the natural end of international relations comes about as a function of two factors, a) contra Hobbes, peaceful and organized society among men, rather than the state of war, is conceived as the natural tendency of and among human beings, and b) also contra Hobbes, the state is not conceived as a man writ large (an artificial man, in Hobbes' language) which creates and proclaims the law, but rather, by virtue of the fact that states are of individuals composed, that individuals are the ultimate unit and origin of the law -- individuals who are taken as sociable by nature (46). It follows from these a priori foundations of the Grotian tradition, that both municipal and international law, practised rightly, are a fulfillment of a natural inclination to society (47). Grotians, or rationalists, are thus seen to be distinguished from Hobbesians, or realists, by their view that society will tend to arise in international relations regardless of whether or not an hegemonic power exists which might be capable of imposing it.

Having made these essential distinctions, Cutler then proceeds to summarize the taxonomy of Martin Wight, which separates schools of international relations into a triptych of realists, rationalists, and revolutionists (50). She, like Little, further acknowledges that Wight's via media approach to the field consists in recognizing 'the simultaneous presence' of all three patterns in international relations in both thought and practice (Cutler 52; Little 4, 8-9). Thus, with regards to the ontology of the field, Wight is said to grant that conflicting tendencies prevail. This includes the triad of drives towards an a-social state of war, towards a pluralistic society of states, and towards a universal, cosmopolitan, world state comprised of all individual men and women. These conflicting forces are reckoned ever-present, though one may be observed to pre-dominate in any particular epoch.

Bull, by contrast, is suspected of a certain type of monism, in so far he articulates order -- particularly international order -- as the sine qua non of the international system. As well, in as much as international society exists for the sake of maintaining that plurality of states as a plurality, international order is posited as the end of that society. Order, as a primary goal, pre-ceeds the secondary goal of justice (Bull 92-94; Cutler 57). He therefor differs from Grotius and the 'neo-Grotian' Wight, in that the latter two advanced that justice and society were ends, rather than means, of international order (48, 59). Wight himself is suspected of differing from Grotius in so far as his conception of the moral force of this international society of law is less than universal, due to its particular origin as a Western norm, rather than in a metaphysical first principle per se (59). But, by Cutler's reckoning, only Bull attempts to elevate order itself to the status of a 'super-ordinate value', which she contends amounts to a normative commitment to the status-quo. By doing so, he is thought to attempt to elevate an Hobbesian principle of positive law (order as a creation of states, and one which precedes justice, itself defined by states) to the status of a universal principle underpinning international society (57-58).

Bull's monism, by this token, consists of his normative preference for order as an epiphenomenon of positive law, and therefor of the consent and coercion of states. While his ontology is held suspect by Cutler, on grounds of its normative nature, his methodology is held suspect for the suspicious activity of mixing positive and natural law is such a way as to suggest the elevation of a creation of states (order) to the level of a metaphysical fiat.

Against the suspicion of a positivist or realist monism, Little writes that Bull insisted that 'it is always erroneous to interpret events as if international society were the sole or dominant element' (Little 9, Bull 55). Rather than existing in a dialectical relationship (as been said of Wight's ontology), for Bull, the triad of drives in international relations are seen as coexisting in a complex relationship, with none taking ontological priority over the others (Little 9). Little also observes, while stating that Bull did not do much to shed light on his specific methodological and ontological position, that Bull's methodologies varied in correspondence to the ontic "layer" upon which he focused. This much, at least, he sees as suggested by Bull's differentiation of 'fortuitous' from 'contrived' balances of power, in which the first may be observed best 'from the outside', whereas the latter would require an interpretative method in order to unravel the conscious efforts which lay behind it (12).

To this, one might also add the previous observations regarding Bull on common interests or values. In particular, it is worthwhile to note that, while Bull postulates order as the necessary pre-condition (or elementary goal) of society, it does not necessarily follow that that order is the final end of said society. As Bull readily indicates, certain members of the society of states, particularly African and Asian states, are clearly prepared to prioritize justice as a final end of international relations (Bull 74). Indeed, as the 'solidarists' of the English School (which may have included Bull, in his later years) are prepared to argue, international society may be prepared to prioritize individual or cosmopolitan justice at the expense of state sovereignty, and thus of international order (Little 411-413).

That being said, Bull does not hesitate to point out the difficulties faced by modern international society should it value secondary goals above the elementary goals of simple society and order. Taking justice as an example, Bull addresses the difficulties posed by apparently different kinds of justice. Citing the theoretical work of Aristotle, Bull lists the four distinctions concerning justice which must be made: I) General versus Particular (as identical with righteous activity in general, or as a species of right activity among others), II) Substantive versus Formal (the recognition of rules conferring certain rights and duties, or the irrespective application of rules to like parties in a like manner), III) Arithmetical versus Proportionate (treatment according to the numeric equality of one with another, or treatment according to merit), IV) Commutative versus Distributive (as reciprocity between parties, or as an authoritative allocation according to the common good) (75-78).

These elementary tensions in the identification and performance of a just action are then said to be further complicated by considering the field of play -- whether it is interstate justice, individual justice, or world justice which forms the framework of action (78). The first, Bull warrants, is eminently compatible with the international system and society (78-79). The second is compatible with them in certain respects, but could destabilize international order if pressed to its limits (79-80). The last, he argues, is completely incompatible, as its realization would necessitate the overturning of international order in favour of world order (80-82). Thus, certain frameworks of justice presuppose effacing the pluralism of the current society by their very nature. In addition, the type of justice demanded or pursued at any particular time by any party, may run afoul of a party demanding or pursuing its opposite type. He thus cautions that the prioritization of justice as an end will not necessarily improve society among humankind, and would likely destabilize the order and society which does exist among states in which a certain amount of justice can and has been achieved (83).

At the final consideration, Bull would seem to concede that neither the "international", nor the "order", of "international order" are necessarily the ends of states or their society, let alone individuals. Cutler's questioning of the normative valuation which Bull may place upon the existing order ought then to be separated from the issue of his ontology, which does not presuppose the triumph or the superiority of his preference.

In the great debate surrounding the fate of the English school, a considerable clamour has arisen as to the point of its continued existence. Some, such as Jones, have thought it’s appearance unseemly, others, such as Copeland, as redundant. Be that as it may, a number of scholars, among them Cutler, Little, and Linklater have made a case for the originality and depth of the contribution of the school to field of international relations studies.

While a number rather stringent critiques have been examined, none seems so strong as to warrant the chaining of the school’s doors, and the turfing of its residents. If anything, the pluralistic ontology and methodology of the school would seem to suggest that its members have a contribution to make which amounts to more than simply synthesizing the work of others. If nothing else, the conception of international society which it advances provide serious fodder for the consideration of scholars of all stripes -- if for no other reason than it challenges the pessimism of Hobbesians and the optimism of Kantians in unexpected ways.


Bull, Hedley. “Society and Anarchy in International Relations,” in James Der Derian (ed.), International Theory: Critical Investigations (Washington Square, NY: New York University Press, 1995): Chapter 5.

Bull, Hedley. The Anarchical Society: A Study of Order in World Politics, 3rd edition (Columbia: Columbia University Press, 2002): chapters 1-3.

Copeland, Dale C. “A Realist Critique of the English School,” Review of International Studies 29, no. 3. (July 2003): 427-441.

Cutler, Claire. “The Grotian Tradition in International Relations,” Review of International Studies, 17 (1991): 41-65.

Jones, Roy E. “The English School of International Relations: A Case for Closure”, Review of International Studies, Vol. 7, No. 1 (Jan., 1981), pp. 1-13.

Linklater, Andrew. “Rationalism,” in Scott Burchill et al., Theories of International Relations
(Houndmills: Palgrave, 2001): 103-128.

Little, Richard. “The English School's Contribution to the Study of International Relations,” European Journal of International Relations 6 (September 2000): 395-422.

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