Interpolarity. Re-Visiting Security and the Global Order
Is the notion of polarity still relevant in the contemporary international security order? This Special Issue argues that it is, and it proposes a new theoretical understanding to take stock of the global order by putting forward the notion of interpolarity. Interpolarity is defined as an international order featuring inter-dependent poles of different sizes that interact. Poles can be epitomized by states, inter-governmental organizations, non-state actors and other subjects. The notion of interpolarity matters because it can capture the conceptual link between different levels of governance, interaction and enactment (such as the local, the national and the international levels) which can be seen as sites of agency, knowledge production and power struggles.
Theoretically, the contribution of this research is twofold. First, it seeks to make a series of corrective claims. On the one hand, it challenges the conceptual understanding of multipolarity and unipolarity, while also taking into consideration the role of smaller poles and how they exert agency in security and global affairs. Second, the SI sheds new light on corollary notions helping to conceptualise and operationalise a security and foreign policy model able to cope with competition and contestation. We do this through the generation of a multi-factorial conceptual model of interpolar order.
Empirically, the articles in this SI draw on the case of European security order as part of the Liberal International Order (LIO), integrating both the national and supranational level of agency, and we complement this by other cases, such as BRICS. We cover an extensive pool of European states, including France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Romania and the UK, as well as the transatlantic component of European security by tackling NATO and the US. The inclusion of BRICS in this SI allows us to include perspectives from the Global South.
Editor-in-Chief, Assoc. Prof. Simon J. Smith(Staffordshire University, UK)
Dr. Cornelia Baciu(Department of Political Science, Centre for Military Studies, University of Copenhagen)
Assoc. Prof. Delphine Deschaux-Dutard(Faculty of Law, University Grenoble Aples)