Hedley Bull Prize in International Relations

2018 - Simon Curtis

We're delighted to announce that Simon Curtis from the University of East Anglia has been honoured with the 2018 Hedley Bull Prize in International Relations, for his book Global Cities and Global Order (OUP 2016).

About Simon's book

The re-emergence of the city from the long shadow of the state in the late-twentieth century was facilitated by the state itself. The unprecedented size and scale of today's global cities and mega cities owe their conditions of possibility to a fundamental shift in the character of political order at the level of the international system. This book argues that we must understand the rise of the global city as part of a wider process of the transformation of international political order, and of the character of international society.

Global cities are an inscription of the ideals of a market society in space, constructed and defended at the level of international society. They embody the ascendance of a set of liberal principles at a certain moment in history – a moment related to the hegemonic status of leading states in the second half of the twentieth century, and the ability of those states to shape international norms. But the evolution of these urban forms has also reflected the tendency for deregulated markets to generate inequality and polarisation: these features are also inscribed in the spaces of global cities. Global cities focus and amplify the tensions and contradictions within the contemporary international system, and become key strategic sites for struggles over social justice and the character of political life in the twenty-first century.

Global Cities and Global Order demonstrates the significance of the re-emergence of cities from the long shadow of the nation-state is far-reaching. Only by examining the mechanisms by which cities have become empowered in the last few decades can we understand their new functions and capabilities in global politics.

Speaking to the ECPR on the occasion of his award, Simon told us 'I am delighted and honoured to receive this prize from the ECPR. I am very happy that the jury had such a positive response to the book, and I hope that this recognition will help to raise the visibility of cities in the study of international relations.'

From our prize jury

Global Cities and Global Order‘Simon’s book investigates the growing importance of global cities in international politics. Taking a longue durée approach, it shows how the rise of the global city is part of a wider process of global transformations in the state and the international system.

Drawing on different strands of academic literature – notably urban studies, political geography and international relations – this book represents a long overdue contribution on the crucial role of cities in the contemporary global political order, and it provides new avenues for further research on the link between cities and states in contemporary global governance.’

2017 - Vincent Pouliot

We are delighted to announce that Vincent Pouliot of McGill University has been honoured with the first Hedley Bull Prize in International Relations, for his book International Pecking Orders: The Politics and Practice of Multi-lateral Diplomacy (Cambridge University Press, 2016).

About this book

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.

Our Jury's verdict

'Pouliot's book provides a critical engagement with contemporary diplomacy in the context of inequality in international political life. Using a theoretical approach that builds on social theories, it reveals the hierarchical structuring and social practices that pervade multilateral diplomacy. In his empirical analysis of the politics of diplomacy in NATO and the UN, Pouliot shows that international pecking orders are complex social forms that the anarchy principle may not fully capture. His work opens up a new research agenda for the scholarly community.'


"To govern is to choose" - Duc de Lévis

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