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International Relations in a post-hegemonic world

Summer school

Online Summer School

Gain an in-depth understanding of international relations in a post-hegemonic world through the lens of international security, international institutions, and international political sociology.

Organized by the ECPR Standing Group on International Relations (SGIR) of the European Consortium for Political Research, the Antwerp Summer School on International Relations in a Post-hegemonic World, will take stock of the current state of political science in international relations and provide researchers input for their ongoing research projects by some of the finest faculty in International Relations from across Europe.

In this Summer School on International Relations in a Post-hegemonic World, you will take stock of the current state of International Relations – as academic discipline and as our empirical field of study. As early-stage researchers at MA, PhD or early postdoc level, you will receive high-quality feedback and input on your ongoing research project – provided by some of the finest faculty in IR from across Europe – and beyond. We are grateful to these colleagues to want to contribute to the Summer School.

By reading and discussing some of the key conceptual, theoretical as well as empirical issues confronting students of contemporary international relations, you will acquire hands-on expertise on how to handle and put to use the different perspectives from which one can view contemporary world politics. These invited experts in the three sub-domains of international cooperation and institutions, international security and international political sociology will first share some of their general views in plenary lectures. Subsequently, they will put these to use, as well as draw on their year-long experience in supervising research in IR in smaller break-out sessions, where they will provide you with personalized feedback on your own individual research projects.

The scientific discipline of IR is the cross-roads of intellectual engagement and scrutiny of a world in transition, and perhaps, yes, a post-hegemonic world. Of course, characterizing the current world order as post-hegemonic is an epistemological choice, as hegemony, and its corollary, is a typical essentially contested concept. It is exactly the purpose of this Summer School to come terms with such fundamental decisions in word usage, concept and theory development. Conceptual choices, or even simple choice of words, is indeed constitutive of what we enquire into, what we seek to understand, grasp and/or explain. And hence, not the clash of essentialist affirmations, but rather the open, reflective search for the right wording, framing and theoretical angle and the motivated construction of conjectures and hypotheses will be the guiding rod to navigate you through the variegated disciplinary field of IR and its contemporary questions.

In order to name some of these challenges facing us today – whether conceptual, theoretical or empirical: the power and impotence of states; the persistence of weak and failed states; where to locate ‘power’ when the theoretical simplification of hegemony is not helpful enough; the paradox of resilient and crumbling multilateralism; the decline of armed conflict and the increase in other, hybrid forms of law- and warfare; the role of non-state actors in different policy fields; the simultaneity of global value chain integration and anti-globalization backlash in politics; the return of multinational oligopolies with a vengeance; strategic autonomy in a world dependent on global supply chains (see COVID vaccines); polycentrism and irresponsibility in climate policies; inequality among people(s) and processes of inclusion and exclusion in global governance; shifting and contested orders of authority and hierarchy in world politics, as well as power struggles and their normative implications.

Given such a full bag of preoccupations, we hope you will bring along a lot of enthusiasm to virtual Antwerp! Do come into the virtual classroom well prepared, with a critical reading of the assigned readings ready in your head. Do submit intriguing resumes of your research projects for your peers and the discussants to comment on. And do bring along an open-minded critical attitude to engage more broadly with your fellow participants and of course all the guest lecturers. If so, we are confident all involved will greatly benefit from the exchange of expertise and views over the course of this July week.


The organisers:

Dirk De Bièvre, Tom Sauer and Jorg Kustermans, Research Group on International Politics, Universiteit Antwerpen

Daniela Irrera (Catania), Nikitas Konstantinidis (IE Madrid), Nora Stappert (Leeds), Andreas von Staden (Hamburg) and Dirk De Bièvre (Antwerp), steering committee of the ECPR Standing Group on International Relations (SGIR)

12 - 15 Jul 2021