- a group of states (or, more generally, a group of independent political communities) which not merely form a system, in the sense that the behaviour of each is a necessary factor in the calculations of the others, but also have established by dialogue and consent common rules and institutions for the conduct of their relations, and recognise their common interest in maintaining these arrangements.
Reexamination of traditional approaches
- Realist (or Hobbesian, after Thomas Hobbes) and thus the concept of international system
- Rationalist (or Grotian, after Hugo Grotius), representing the international society
- Revolutionist (or Kantian, after Immanuel Kant) representing world society.
- The pluralists argue that the diversity of humankind - their differing political and religious views, ethnic and linguistic traditions, and so on - is best contained within a society that allows for the greatest possible independence for states, which can, in their forms of government, express those differing conceptions of the 'good life'. This position is expressed most forcefully by the Canadian academic Robert Jackson, especially in The Global Covenant (2001).
- The solidarists, by contrast, argue that the society of states should do more to promote the causes of human rights and, perhaps, emancipation - as opposed to the rights of states to political independence and non-intervention in their internal affairs. This position may be located in the work on humanitarian intervention by, amongst others, Nicholas Wheeler, in Saving Strangers (2000).
Affinities to others
- The pluralists have drawn from the classical 'political realism' of Hans Morgenthau, George Kennan
- The pluralists have also been influence by the underpinnings of Reinhold Niebuhr's Christian Realism.
- The solidarist have drawn from realist writers, such as Stanley Hoffmann.
- from structural 'neorealism' of Kenneth Waltz, in the case of Barry Buzan;
- from social constructivism of Alexander Wendt, in that of Tim Dunne;
- from 'critical theorists', in that of Andrew Linklater; and
- even from the 'post-structuralism' of Michel Foucault, in the case of James Der Derian.