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International Pecking Orders
The Politics and Practice of Multilateral Diplomacy

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  • Date Published: February 2017
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781316566701

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About the Authors
  • In any multilateral setting, some state representatives weigh much more heavily than others. Practitioners often refer to this form of diplomatic hierarchy as the 'international pecking order'. This book is a study of international hierarchy in practice, as it emerges out of the multilateral diplomatic process. Building on the social theories of Erving Goffman and Pierre Bourdieu, it argues that diplomacy produces inequality. Delving into the politics and inner dynamics of NATO and the UN as case studies, Vincent Pouliot shows that pecking orders are eminently complex social forms: contingent yet durable; constraining but also full of agency; operating at different levels, depending on issues; and defined in significant part locally, in and through the practice of multilateral diplomacy.

    • Explains how international hierarchies are a result of multilateral diplomatic processes
    • Reconciles the practice of multilateral diplomacy with the production of inequality and social stratification
    • Spans different dimensions of the social - situational, dispositional, relational and positional - in making sense of international politics
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    • Runner-up, 2016 Chadwick Alger Prize, International Organization Section, International Studies Association

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Pouliot's book is a welcome contribution to the international relations (IR) literature on the practice of diplomacy. Few works in the scholarly study of IR attempt to rigorously explain how multilateral diplomacy works and its larger effects. Pouliot's framework for understanding seeks to move beyond structural and agency approaches by integrating social theories to explain diplomacy and outcomes in world politics … In essence, the book seeks to explain 'social theater' by looking closely at the practice of diplomacy … Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.' J. Fields, Choice

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2017
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781316566701
    • contains: 6 b/w illus. 4 colour illus. 5 tables
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: all the world's a stage
    Part I. Situations:
    1. The politics of multilateral diplomacy
    2. A practice theory of social stratification
    Part II. Dispositions:
    3. The diplomatic sense of place
    4. A working consensus: the negotiation of the 2010 Strategic Concept and the NATO pecking order
    Part III. Relations:
    5. Permanent representation: relational structure and practical logics
    6. Clan politics: Security Council reform and the UN pecking order
    Part IV. Positions:
    7. State practices and multilateral fields
    8. The field logics of multilateral pecking orders: NATO and the UN compared
    Conclusion: the miracle of multilateral pecking orders
    Appendix: research design, methods and data.

  • Author

    Vincent Pouliot, McGill University, Montréal
    Vincent Pouliot is Associate Professor and William Dawson Scholar in the Department of Political Science at McGill University. He is the author of International Security in Practice: The Politics of NATO-Russia Diplomacy (Cambridge, 2010) and the co-editor of Diplomacy and the Making of World Politics (Cambridge, 2015) and International Practices (Cambridge, 2011).


    • Runner-up, 2016 Chadwick Alger Prize, International Organization Section, International Studies Association

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