Morphogenesis, Continuity and Change in the International Political System

  • Colin WightEmail author


Change seems to be the leitmotif of the contemporary world. Globalization, we are led to believe, is changing everything. Time and space are no longer what they once were; class structures and gender relations are said to be undergoing transformation; there are increased hopes for disarmament, paradoxically existing alongside growing fears about nuclear proliferation and claims that interstate war may now be obsolete; existing state boundaries, and the nature of the state itself, are also in question. The aim of this chapter is to explore the causes, courses, and consequences of global social change from the vantage point of morphogenesis. The focus of this chapter is on international relations and the underlying assumption is that social change anywhere in the contemporary world can only be examined from this global context. The chapter also argues that morphogenesis provides us with a unique framework for dealing with social change at the global level.


Globalization International political system Social change at global level Global social change Growing fears Existing state boundaries Nature of the state itself 


  1. Archer MS (1979) Social origins of educational systems. Sage, LondonGoogle Scholar
  2. Archer MS (1982) Morphogenesis versus structuration: on combining structure and action. Br J Sociol 33(4):455–483CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Archer MS (1995) Realist social theory: the morphogenetic approach. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Archer MS (2000) Being human: the problem of agency. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Archer MS (2012) The reflexive imperative in late modernity. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Braudel F (1990) The identity of France. Collins, LondonGoogle Scholar
  7. Bull H (1977) The anarchical society: a study of order in world politics. Macmillan, LondonGoogle Scholar
  8. Buzan B (2004) From international to world society? English school theory and the social structure of globalisation. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Clark I (1997) Globalization and fragmentation: international relations in the twentieth century. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  10. Dougherty JE, Pfaltzgraff RL (1981) Contending theories of international relations: a comprehensive survey, 2d edn. Harper & Row, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  11. Evans PB, Rueschemeyer D, Skocpol T (1985) Bringing the state back in. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Giddens A (1985) A contemporary critique of historical materialism. Polity, LondonGoogle Scholar
  13. Gilpin R (1981) War and change in world politics. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Greenfield S (2003) Tomorrow’s people: how 21st century technology is changing the way we think and feel. Allen Lane, LondonGoogle Scholar
  15. Holsti KJ (1991) Change in the international system: essays on the theory and practice of international relations. Edward Elgar, AldershotGoogle Scholar
  16. Kaldor M (1999) New and old wars: organized violence in a global era. Polity Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  17. Keohane RO, Nye JS (1977) Power and Interdependence: world politics in transition. Little Brown, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  18. Koslowski R, Kratochwil F (1994) Understanding change in international politics: the soviet empire’s demise and the international system. Int Organ 48(2):215–248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kratochwil F (1993) The embarrassment of changes: neo-realism as the science of realpolitik without politics. Rev Int Stud 19:1–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Morgenthau (1954) Politics among nations: the struggle for power and peace, 2nd edn. Knopf, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  21. Morgenthau HJ, Thompson KW (1950) Principles & problems of international politics: selected readings. University Press of America, Lanham, 1982Google Scholar
  22. Nietzsche FW, Kaufmann WA (1967) Will to power: in science, nature, society and art. Vintage books, [S.l.]Google Scholar
  23. Ohmae K (1995) The end of the nation state: the rise of regional economies. HarperCollins, LondonGoogle Scholar
  24. Patomäki H (1992) What is it that changed with the end of the cold war? An analysis of the problem of identifying and explaining change. In: Allan P, Goldmann K (eds) The end of the cold war: evaluating theories of international relations. Martinus, Dordrecht, pp 179–225Google Scholar
  25. Rosenau JN (1990) Turbulence in world politics: a theory of change and continuity. Harvester Wheatsheaf, LondonGoogle Scholar
  26. Rosenberg J (2007) International relations—the ‘higher bullshit’: a reply to the globalization theory debate. Int Politics 44:450–482CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Ruggie JG (1993) Territoriality and beyond: problematizing modernity in international relations. Int Organ 47(1):139–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Scholte JA (1993) International relations of social change. Open University Press, BuckinghamGoogle Scholar
  29. Singer DJ (1961) The Level-of-analysis problem in international relations. World Politics 14(1):77–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Skolnikoff EB (1993) The elusive transformation: science, technology, and the evolution of international politics. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  31. Smith R (2005) The utility of force: the art of war in the modern world. Allen Lane, LondonGoogle Scholar
  32. Stiglitz JE (2002) Globalization and its discontents. Allen Lane, LondonGoogle Scholar
  33. Walker RBJ (1993) Inside/outside: international relations as political theory. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  34. Waltz KN (1979) Theory of international politics. Addison-Wesley, ReadingGoogle Scholar
  35. Wendt A (1999) Social theory of international politics. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wight C (2006) Agents, structures and international relations: politics as ontology. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Wight M, Bull H, Holbraad C (1978) Power politics, 2nd ed. Continuum, New York, 2002Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of SydneySydneyAustralia

Personalised recommendations