The rise of non-Western Great Powers, the spread of transnational religiously-justified insurgencies, and the resurgence of ethno-nationalism raise fundamental questions about the effects of cultural diversity on international order. Yet current debate - among academics, popular commentators, and policy-makers alike - rests on flawed understandings of culture and inaccurate assumptions about how historically cultural diversity has shaped the evolution of international orders. In this path-breaking book, Christian Reus-Smit details how the major theories of international relations have consistently misunderstood the nature and effects of culture, returning time and again to a conception long abandoned in specialist fields: the idea of cultures as coherent, bounded, and constitutive. Drawing on theoretical insights from anthropology, cultural studies, and sociology, and informed by new histories of diverse historical orders, this book presents a new theoretical account of the relationship between cultural diversity and international order: an account with far-reaching implications for how we understand contemporary transformations.
Christian Reus-Smit is Professor of International Relations at the University of Queensland and a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. Among his many books, he is author of Individual Rights and the Making of the International System (Cambridge, 2013), American Power and World Order (2004), and The Moral Purpose of the State (1999). His work has been awarded the Northedge Prize (1992), the BISA Prize (2002), and the Susan Strange Prize (2014). He is currently co-editor of the leading journal International Theory, the Cambridge Studies in International Relations book series, and a General Editor of Oxford Handbooks of International Relations.