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Why We Should Think About Political Obligation: International Relations, War, and the Problem of Pol

Thursday January 17, 2008, at 14:00
Aula 4 - IBEI
Research seminar
Ilan Baron (Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals)
The problem of political obligation has been described as one of the fundamental questions in political thought, and the purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the relevance of political obligation for international relations. The idea that people or states have obligations to other people or states is a common motif in much international relations literature, ranging from English School solidarism to contemporary versions of realism that defend American militarism abroad. Political obligation is an important concept in international relations, yet to recognize its importance is to recognize the significance that political theory has for the study of international relations. In this vein, this paper suggests that, with reference to the obligation to risk one’s life for the state in war, the problem of political obligation is important in the study of international relations.