The international political thought of Martin Wight

The different responses in Great Britain and the United States to Martin Wight as a thinker of international relations reveal something about the contrasting academic cultures of the two countries. Wight was pre-eminently an arts man, regarding history and philosophy as essential prerequisites for understanding the world. Above all he was concerned with the moral dimension in politics, whether domestic or international. His pacifism in the Second World War, curiously linked to his profound sense of realism, reflected deep religious convictions' indeed theology, and particularly eschatology, underlay much of his thinking. His career centers upon first Chatham House and Nuffield College, Oxford, then the London School of Economics and Political Science, and finally the University of Sussex. His lectures at the LSE on international theory achieved legendary fame, but he did not publish much in his lifetime. The appearance since 1977 of four notable posthumous works has enhanced his already high reputation, as has the increasing scholarly interest in the English School, of which he is now seen as a founding father. Ian Hall's book is a brilliant piece of analysis in which Wight's theological world view which was not obtrusive in his teaching and writing is investigated with a sureness that is probably rare among scholars in the international relations field.
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