Agnew___Corbridge_Ch_2_pp_26-31

Agnew___Corbridge_Ch_2_pp_26-31 - 2. MASTERING SPACE ~/7...

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MASTERING SPACE named. But it also evidences a certain teleological insistence that a (eternal?) 'struggle for hegemony' (e.g. the 'British Succession') is what drives the creation of a geopolitical order rather than the technological-economic cycles the periodization relies upon. Contra Cox, this does at least allow Taylor to argue for a hegemony immanent within a non-hegemonic order! The principal drawback of this approach, however, lies in seeing a geopolitical order entirely in terms of the coercive potential of actual and potential hegemonic powers rather than as a historical structure based on the prevalence of certain practices and representations. What it means to be a state or how a geopolitical order works are not given for all time and in abeyance of the workings of the international political economy. These are the primary distinguishing features of our approach when compared to that of Taylor. THE CONCERT OF EUROPE - BRITISH GEOPOLITICAL ORDER (1815-75) The British geopolitical order of 1815-75 provides strong evidence for the view that there are alternatives to rules of governance manifesting either total anarchy or strict hierarchy. The international political economy between 1815 and 1875 was characterized by a European Concert in which no one state 'laid down the law' for the continent as a whole and an emerging British economic hegemony in much of the rest of the world. Putting it another way: 'Great Britain's role as a world power did not translate into continental hegemony. The governance system in nineteenth century Europe was a polyarchy, not a hegemony' (Holsti 1992, 56). These twin features are what sets this period apart from later ones. After 1875both the Concert and certain vital features of British economic hegemony decayed rapidly as the funda- mental supports of the order collapsed. The main problem the Concert was designed to handle was revolution. Initially there was agreement that this meant preventing a French war of revenge or the restoration of the regime of Napoleon Bonaparte. Thereafter there was disagreement over the extent to which this justified unilateral interventions in small states to suppress rebellion. But a consensus evolved among the dominant political elites in Europe that (1) no one state in Europe could predominate within the continent and (2) Europe-wide wars were best avoided because of their potential for unleashing revolutionary forces. Even though the system of regular congresses largely collapsed, certain rules of behaviour became widely accepted. Unilateral responses were decried. The Great Powers were co-managers who merited consultation on all of the principal threats to international peace. As a result, wars to foment revolu- tion or to acquire territory were seen as threats to a system based on a conception of a collective interest that transcended particular national interests. In practice many conflicts which would have found their way easily 26 Cf?Y brJ' dJ el ~ GEOPOLITICAL ORDER to the battlefield
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Agnew___Corbridge_Ch_2_pp_26-31 - 2. MASTERING SPACE ~/7...

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