© 2012

Tragedy and International Relations

  • Toni Erskine
  • Richard Ned Lebow

Part of the Palgrave Studies in International Relations book series (PSIR)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Understanding Tragedy and Understanding International Relations

    1. Toni Erskine, Richard Ned Lebow
      Pages 1-18
  3. Recovering the Tragic Dimension of International Relations

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 19-19
    2. Richard Ned Lebow
      Pages 63-71
  4. Tragedy and International Relations as Political Theory

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 73-73
    2. J. Peter Euben
      Pages 86-96
    3. Richard Beardsworth
      Pages 97-111
  5. On the Nature of Tragedy in International Relations

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 127-127
    2. Benjamin A. Schupmann
      Pages 129-143
    3. Catherine Lu
      Pages 158-171
    4. Robbie Shilliam
      Pages 172-184
    5. Toni Erskine, Richard Ned Lebow
      Pages 185-217
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 218-222

About this book


Nowhere are clashes between competing ethical perspectives more prevalent than in the realm of International Relations. Thus, understanding tragedy is directly relevant to understanding IR. This volume explores the various ways that tragedy can be used as a lens through which international relations might be brought into clearer focus.


international relations political science political theory politics

Editors and affiliations

  • Toni Erskine
    • 1
  • Richard Ned Lebow
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Aberystwyth UniversityUK
  2. 2.King’s College LondonUK
  3. 3.Dartmouth CollegeUSA

About the editors

TONI ERSKINE holds a Personal Chair in International Politics at Aberystwyth University, UK, and is currently Honorary Professor of Global Ethics at RMIT University in Melbourne and Visiting Scholar at Sydney University, Australia. RICHARD NED LEBOW James O. Freedman Presidential Professor of Government (Emeritus) at Dartmouth College, USA, and Centennial Professor of International Relations at The London School of Economics and Political Science, UK.

Bibliographic information

Industry Sectors
Finance, Business & Banking


Winner of the CHOICE Award for Outstanding Academic Titles in 2014

"This is scholarship done the "old" way: a polite but nonetheless raucous debate, begun in a cafe, that subsequently gains a life of its own as it spreads and catches the interest of many fine thinkers and erudite writers. The goal of this short but deep volume, to discuss how and in what ways the classical conceptions of tragedy over the millennia of philosophical musings might still be relevant and enrich readers' understanding of international relations today, is fascinating exactly because it is so almost absurdly bold: one is hard-pressed to find a similar work with a similarly humble yet grand objective. In the end it is not so much about whether or not the contributors pull off the ultimate conclusion (after all, is it really possible in the present-day academic world to ever grant a person or a group success In answering what is at its most fundamental essence a deeply profound and highly esoteric question?), but rather it is a treat to enjoy this for the intellectual journey on which it takes the reader. It is a deeply serious work worthy of high-level reflection. Summing Up: Highly recommended." - CHOICE Review, M. D. Crosston, Bellevue University, USA

"As both rhetoric and reality, the question of tragedy remains a crucial aspect of political life and political understanding. With remarkable breadth and power, this superb volume shows why it should be central to political science and international relations today." - Michael C. Williams, Professor in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa, Canada

"An unusual collection of stimulating essays amounting to a spirited "conversation" among leading scholars, which reminds us that the "bounds of sense" are not exhausted by "techniques", "designs", "systems" or "theories"." - Friedrich Kratochwil, Professor of International Relations, European University Institute, Florence, Italy

"Erskine and Lebow bring together a world class collection of contributors to demonstrate how the theme of tragedy illuminates the ethical contours of international politics. This books makes a valuable contribution to IR theory but will resonate well beyond this audience to scholars working in cultural studies, literature and continental philosophy. This is certainly a book I will be encouraging my students to read." - Kimberly Hutchings, Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science

"This is a wide-ranging collection of essays by an impressive group of established and early-career theorists." - International Affairs