War and Power in the Twenty-first Century
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War and Power in the Twenty-first Century : The State, Military Conflict and the International System

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Future developments in war, armed conflict and international relations are central to our collective fate in this century. This book looks forward by considering the forces that will drive changes in military organizations, sources of conflict, the power of states and the nature of the international system. New military technologies will alter how wars are fought and will influence the balance of power. Changes in the global environment will provide new causes of conflict and will change economic priorities. As a result, the state will survive as the key social institution and populations will look to it to acquire and to distribute scarce resources like water, energy and land. Many of the changes that seem transformatory today, like globalization, the internet and mass consumerism, will be shown to be less significant than we believe them to be. Hirst puts such changes into perspective by comparing them with the revolutionary changes in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in Europe: the firepower revolution, the rise of the sovereign territorial state and the parallel development of the international system, and the creation of world trade.
These basic structures of the modern world are still with us and will remain, despite major changes in twenty-first-century society. This book will appeal to students of politics, political sociology & international relations as well as the interested general reader.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 176 pages
  • 141 x 191 x 12mm | 194g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0
  • 0745625215
  • 9780745625218
  • 987,382

Back cover copy

Future developments in war, armed conflict and internationalrelations are central to our collective fate in this century. Thisbook looks forward by considering the forces that will drivechanges in military organizations, sources of conflict, the powerof states and the nature of the international system.


New military technologies will alter how wars are fought andwill influence the balance of power. Changes in the globalenvironment will provide new causes of conflict and will changeeconomic priorities. As a result, the state will survive as the keysocial institution and populations will look to it to acquire andto distribute scarce resources like water, energy and land. Many ofthe changes that seem transformatory today, like globalization, theinternet and mass consumerism, will be shown to be less significantthan we believe them to be.


Hirst puts such changes into perspective by comparing them withthe revolutionary changes in the sixteenth and seventeenthcenturies in Europe: the firepower revolution, the rise of thesovereign territorial state and the parallel development of theinternational system, and the creation of world trade. These basicstructures of the modern world are still with us and will remain, despite major changes in twenty-first-century society.


This book will appeal to students of politics, politicalsociology & international relations as well as the interestedgeneral reader.
show more

Table of contents

Acknowledgements. Introduction. 1. Military Revolutions. 2. The International System in the Westphalian Era. 3. The Future of War. 4. The Future of the International System. Conclusion. Notes. Further Reading. Index.
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Review quote

"The underlying reasons why rivalry among states will remain the moving force of international relations are set out in Paul Hirst's War and Power in the 21st Century, a short book written before 11 September that is worth more than a truckload of the ephemera that have appeared in the aftermath of the attack." The New Statesman "This short, well-written contribution to Polity's 'Themes for the 21st Century' series contains a bold set of reflections on the future of states and war." Political Studies Review "A very useful study." Australian Journal of Political Science
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About Paul Hirst

Paul Hirst is Professor of Social Theory, Birkbeck College, University of London
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