This year’s annual Millennium conference is on the politics of time in IR. Unfortunately I am not able to make it this year, but an older article of mine relevant to the conference has been available for free this month. The article is entitled ‘Beyond the End of History: The Need for a “Radical Historicisation” of Democracy in International Relations’. I argue that there is a tendency to remove democracy from the historical context in which it developed, which has had negative consequences for how we understand its current role and future potential. This was a precursor to what I explore in much greater length in my 2015 book with Edinburgh University Press, The Rise of Democracy. I think the arguments I make in the article and book have some extra relevance in light of the recent travails of established democracies exemplified by Brexit and the Trump presidency. The perspective I develop tries to chart a course between excessive confidence and equally misleading pessimism.
Click on this link to read the article for free. Thanks to SAGE and Millennium for making the piece available more widely.
My forthcoming article in Political Studies Review, ‘Democracy: Trap, Tragedy or Crisis?’ is now available through SAGE’s OnlineFirst. It is a synthesis review of a series of recent books considering whether democracy is in crisis, or experiencing multiple crises. This is a topic that will presumably only be increasing in significance. Here is the abstract:
A quarter of a century after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the confidence once surrounding liberal democracy has been replaced with increasing concerns over its health. Reflecting this change of mood, there has been a proliferation of books examining whether democracy may be in crisis. This review surveys some of these recent contributions, which are united by a much more pessimistic tone. As these books detail, democracy now confronts major problems in essentially every sphere, with changes in the economic realm arguably being the most consequential. Rather than theorising more expansive forms of democracy, the challenge increasingly seems to be one of holding onto what we already have.
If you have access, you can download the article here, otherwise the original version (before revisions) can be downloaded here.
After a bit of silence, I have a new op-ed in The Japan Times. Until now I have avoided writing about Trump and the US elections, but – like many – I am deeply concerned about what his victory portends. This piece is my first cut at trying to think through what it means and how we should respond.
You can read the full article here.
I’ll be heading back to London this week for the 2016 edition of the annual Millennium conference at the LSE. This year the theme is race and racism in world politics. I must admit, this is relatively new territory for me, so I am looking forward to listening and learning a lot over the weekend. My contribution will be further developing my critical engagement with the Responsibility to Protect doctrine. It builds on my paper from last year, which was recently published in the conference special issue of the journal. This year I’ll be thinking about R2P through the lens of the conference theme, and focusing specifically on the limits in the way that R2P proponents conceive of violence. A draft of the conference program can be found here.
My monograph from last year, The Rise of Democracy, is now available as an eBook at the more manageable price of £19.99. If you want to get a better idea of what my book is about, you can download the book’s introduction here. And you can purchase the book – in either electronic or hardback format – through Edinburgh University Press.
I am very happy to see that the United Nations University has published the final report from the Fukushima Global Communication Programme. The report provides a comprehensive summary of the main findings from the joint research project, as well as information about all the different activities associated with it. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to participate and contribute to the project, and I hope the findings might be of some use. The full report is available here. Two working papers I wrote for the project are also still available: ‘Rethinking Human Security after the March 2011 Tohoku Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Accident’ (March 2014) and ‘Rebuilding Trust After Fukushima’ (March 2015).
Following on from my earlier contribution to the Democratic Futures series over at The Conversation, I have a new piece that further explores the value of humility for democracy. Focusing mainly on democracy support, I argue that there is a need to be more aware of the flaws of democracy, while also maintaining confidence in it as a form of rule. The important of reflexivity and an awareness of limits are points I emphasise. You can read the article here.
I am very excited to be visiting the National University of Singapore for the first time next week. I’ll be giving a seminar about my ongoing research on the concept of humility and its relevance for politics. Details above.
I have recently been coming across a number of books reflecting on the health of democracy and questioning whether it is now in a state of crisis. As I was reading them for my own research, I thought it might be interesting and useful to do a synthesis review for some of them. So I did it and the piece was accepted for publication by Political Studies Review. The books I considered were: Wendy Brown’s Undoing the Demos, Philip Coggan’s The Last Vote, John Dunn’s Breaking Democracy’s Spell, S Steven Johnston’s American Dionysia, Joshua Kurlantzick’s Democracy in Retreat, Peter Mair’s Ruling the Void and David Runciman’s The Confidence Trap. Of these, I particularly liked Brown’s and Runciman’s. I am not sure when the article will be published, but according to the copyright agreement, I am allowed to post the original version I submitted to the journal. It is not greatly different from the version that will be published, mainly just some tweaks and fixing of poor phrasing. So if interested, here it is:
Christopher Hobson, ‘Democracy: trap, tragedy or crisis?‘ (original version of an article forthcoming in Political Studies Review).
Taylor & Francis have put together a collection of articles related to conflict that have appeared in journals they publish. My article from Third World Quarterly, which examines the role of private military companies in the war on drugs, has been included in this collection. There hasn’t been much published on this topic, so I was glad to get it published and now I am happy to see it being made more widely available. All articles in this conflict selection are available free until the end of 2016. You can reach my piece through clicking on the link below: