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Social Movements and International Relations: A Relational Framework

Davies, T. R. ORCID: 0000-0003-1047-9628 & Peña, A. (2019). Social Movements and International Relations: A Relational Framework. Journal of International Relations and Development, 24(1), pp. 51-76. doi: 10.1057/s41268-019-00180-w


Social movements are increasingly recognized as significant features of contemporary world politics, yet to date their treatment in international relations theory has tended to obfuscate the considerable diversity of these social formations, and the variegated interactions they may establish with state actors and different structures of world order. Highlighting the difficulties conventional liberal and critical approaches have in transcending conceptions of movements as moral entities, the article draws from two under-exploited literatures in the study of social movements in international relations, the English School and Social Systems Theory, to specify a wider range of analytical interactions between different categories of social movements and of world political structures. Moreover, by casting social movement phenomena as communications, the article opens international relations to consideration of the increasingly diverse trajectories and second-order effects produced by social movements as they interact with states, intergovernmental institutions, and transnational actors.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Journal of International Relations and Development. The final authenticated version is available online at:
Subjects: H Social Sciences
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > International Politics
SWORD Depositor:
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