Power of Rules and Rule of Power
Many approaches to understanding international politics begin with the observation that international politics operates in a condition of anarchy, and that this creates fundamentally different interactions than those we witness in domestic politics. Yet, despite the lack of a formal government, the international system operates through a vast web of rules– formal and informal, explicit and implicit. While powerful actors may have disproportionate influence in the creation, maintenance, and contestation of rules, explicit and implicit rules also influence notions of power and serve as sources of power. There is an endogenous, mutually constitutive, relationship between power and rules.
The 2018 conference theme seeks to understand the relative and relational influence of power and rules in international politics. While the interaction between power and rules characterizes the subject we study, it also characterizes the international studies profession. ISA invites proposals that address and problematize power structures, rules, and norms in the discipline, universities, and professional associations as well as in international interactions.