Basic problems in the theory of uneven and combined development. Part II: unevenness and political multiplicity

Rosenberg, Justin (2010) Basic problems in the theory of uneven and combined development. Part II: unevenness and political multiplicity. Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 23 (1). pp. 165-189. ISSN 0955-7571

Full text not available from this repository.


Where does 'the international' come from? What accounts for its existence as a dimension of the human world? This article attempts an answer, in three steps, using the idea of 'uneven and combined development' (U&CD). First, a depth model is constructed, comparing different ways of linking uneven development with international relations. Thus far, it turns out, these ways have all presupposed the fact of political multiplicity, rather than explaining it. In search of explanation, the article turns, secondly, to the compelling historical sociological argument of Barry Buzan and Richard Little. This locates the origins of geopolitics in the late prehistoric shift from hunter-gatherer to settled agricultural existence, together with associated processes of social differentiation and proto-state formation. Buzan and Little's explanation appears at first to pre-empt the need for the concept of U&CD. Yet closer inspection reveals that unevenness and combination play a key role in their empirical account without, however, being theorized. The third step of the argument therefore seeks to show how these are necessary parts of the process of social change which Buzan and Little describe. And in this way it emerges that the origins of 'the international' do indeed lie in the uneven and combined character of historical development.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Awarded ‘Best Work by an International Scholar’ by the American Sociology Association's Section on Global and Transnational Sociology, 2012.
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
Depositing User: Justin Rosenberg
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 15:29
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2013 10:21
📧 Request an update