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Sovereignty, Rights and Justice: International Political Theory Today

ISBN: 978-0-7456-2303-0
296 pages
July 2002, Polity
Sovereignty, Rights and Justice: International Political Theory Today (0745623034) cover image


Sovereignty, Rights and Justice surveys the relationship between international relations theory and political theory, showing the way in which these two discourses, once considered separate, are now intertwined. In the first part of the book an historical overview of the international political theory on the ‘Westphalia System' is presented, with brief accounts of the law of nations, and the notion of an ‘international society' as well as an examination of the international thought of the Enlightenment and of nineteenth- century industrial society.

International theory in the twentieth century is then examined, leading into a consideration of some of the key issues of late-twentieth-century international relations, including the rights of political communities; the ethics of force in international relations; human rights; humanitarian intervention; global social justice and the moral relevance of borders; cultural diversity and the ‘Asian values' debate. In the final chapters, the impact of globalization on all these issues is examined.

This is an accessible introduction to one of the most important areas of contemporary political theory, and one based firmly on the analysis of real-world problems.

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Table of Contents


Prologue: September 11th, 2001.

Introduction: Sovereignty, Rights and Justice.

The Westphalia System: The Law of Nations and the Society of States.

The Enlightenment and Post-Enlightenment Thought.

Realism, Liberal Internationalism and 20th Century International Political Theory.

Self-Determination and Non-Intervention.

Force, Violence and International Political Theory.

The Contemporary International Human Rights Regime.

Humanitarianism and Humanitarian Intervention.

Global Inequality and International Social Justice.

Cultural Diversity and International Political Theory.

Post-Westphalian International Political Theory.

A World Gone Wrong?.



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Author Information

Chris Brown is Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
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The Wiley Advantage

  • A comprehensive introduction to international political theory

  • Weaves together the classical concerns of both international relations theory and political theory

  • Written by a world-leading academic in the field

  • Based firmly on the analysis of real-world problems
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"Chris Brown has written the first comprehensive text on international political theory as an established field of inquiry. Grounding his discussion on the history of international thought while avoiding entanglement in abstruse metatheoretical debates, he treats all the important topics: sovereignty, war, human rights, humanitarian intervention, global justice, cultural diversity and globalization. Consistently clear, illuminating, provocative and entertaining, this book is the best starting place for those who want to understand the state of international political theorizing today." Terry Nardin, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

"Chris Brown argues that the importance of international political theory lies in its concern with the real issues that affect the lives of ordinary people. Central to this agenda are questions of sovereignty, rights and justice. The book addresses these issues in a comprehensive and combative style: this is vintage Brown." Professor Ken Booth, University of Wales

"It gives a very interesting and comprehensive introduction to the state of international political theory today ... In addition, Brown has a pleasant and accessible style of writing ... A very good introduction." Acta Politica

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