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Socio-ecological coevolution: an ecological analysis of the historical development of international systems in the circumpolar Arctic

Campanaro, Richard (2012) Socio-ecological coevolution: an ecological analysis of the historical development of international systems in the circumpolar Arctic. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Abstract

The goal of this thesis is to analyse the impact of Arctic ecology on the development of international systems in the circumpolar world. It is a goal pursued in two steps: (i) by developing an analytical approach capable of tracing the mutual constitution of international and ecological systems in world history; and (ii) by using the resulting toolkit to establish a baseline understanding of the international systems of the polar basin. Part One adapts the analytical approach pioneered by Barry Buzan and Richard Little to study international systems in world history, adding a contextual axis to their analytical matrix in order to escape the anthropocentric cul-de-sac that has heretofore limited IR’s ability to consider ecology’s role in the constitution of international units, processes, and structures. The resulting approach – defined in terms of SocioEcological Coevolution – describes this relationship in terms of three sources of explanation: coevolutionary process, ecological capacity and biogeographical structure. Part Two uses the toolkit to analyse the past four hundred years of Arctic history, charting the impact of ecological systems on the principles of membership and behaviour that define international systems in circumpolar world. Through discussions of socio-ecological coevolution, ecological capacity and biogeographical structure, the project identifies the Arctic as a region defined by competing sets of Westphalian and imperial principles. The balance between the Arctic’s anarchic states system and its hierarchic imperial systems has its fulcrum on a socio-ecological ecotone – a transitional gradient that divides its neo-European and non-European biomes and marks a shift from Westphalian to imperial social principles. Though designed to answer specific questions about the constitution of international systems in the circumpolar North, Coevolution proves itself to be a promising tool for ecological analysis in IR with potential applicability to regions outside of the Arctic Basin.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2012 Richard Campanaro
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Sets: Departments > International Relations
Supervisor: Falkner, Robert and Buzan, Barry
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/566

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