The world is becoming more complex, fraught with increasing possibilities for conflict over national rivalries, economic competition, and cultural and ideological fault lines. This clear-eyed text offers a structured and theoretically grounded way to think about the forces that animate change and the alternative futures they may create. Donald Kelley views both contemporary reality and the future we face through the perspective of four different paradigms that shape our way of thinking about the world:
From these paradigms and their interactions, Kelley builds a series of possible alternative futures of the international system. His framework provides a unique way of looking at how and why the world is changing and the many different “futures”—some peaceful and productive, some warlike and destructive, and others simply dysfunctional—in which we might live.
Donald R. Kelley is professor of political science at the University of Arkansas, where he has taught international relations and comparative politics since 1980. He also served as a senior research fellow and then as director of the Fulbright Institute of International Relations.
1: Understanding a Changing World: The Future(s) of the International System
What Is an International System?
What Is a Paradigm?
Building Analytic Paradigms and Alternative Futures
Paradigms in the Social Sciences
Realism, Liberalism, and Constructivism
The Four Paradigms
What Comes Next?
2: The Nation-State
The Possible Futures
A Hegemonic World
A New Balance of Power in a Bipolar or Limited Multipolar World
A Stable Multipolar World
An Unstable Multipolar World
3: The Economic Paradigm
Globalization Amended and Reconfigured
Toward Autarky, with a Touch of Anarchy
4: The Identity and Culture Paradigm
The Gradual Emergence of a Global Identity and Culture
The Identity and Culture Paradigm Merges with the Nation-State Paradigm
The Creation of an International System Based on the “Clash of Civilizations”
5: The Ideology Paradigm
A Universalistic and Humanistic Ideology Emerges
Ideological Conflict Reemerges
“National Ideology” Becomes the Dominant Fusion of National Identity and Ideology
Populism Becomes the Dominant Paradigm
Sources of Stability and Instability
What Would a Populist World Look Like?
6: Where Do You Go from Here?
What Have You Learned?
How Many Alternative Futures Have We Created?
How Can You Use This Framework?
About the Author