• knowledge
  • peacekeeping
  • peacebuild
  • women
  • peacemaking

Power, Wealth and Global Order: An International Relations Textbook for Africa

alt Edited by Philip Nel and Patrick McGowan
University of Cape Town Press, South Africa, 1999
ISBN: 10: 1919713301 13: 978-1919713304

Reviewed by: Jo-Ansie van Wyk, Department of Political Sciences University of South Africa (UNISA) Pretoria, South Africa.
In Conflict Trends Issue 3 of 1999

Dedicated to the thousands of students in Africa who, often under difficult conditions, study International Relations, and commissioned by the Foundation for Global Dialogue, this publication is a collaboration by contributors from a number of South African and United States institutions.

In the first chapter on the study of International Relations (IR), McGowan and Nel introduce the student to the subject matter of IR. They refer to state and non-state actors in IR and the scientific study of this field.

The interface between IR and economics is introduced by Leysens and Thompson in their chapter. They base their discussion of the global political economy on the approach of Susan Strange, who explains the global political economy in terms of four primary and secondary power structures. This chapter also reviews the historical development of the global political economy and the transition from the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT) to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Nel’s chapter on the theories of IR introduces the reader to theory and its application in the study of IR. Various IR theories, such as realism, liberalism and transformative theory are discussed.

The origins and development of the modern interstate system are discussed by Adar. He also discusses the units of the modern interstate system, as well as related concepts such as nations, states, sovereignty, power and national interests.

Vale and Mphaisha define foreign policy in their chapter on analysing and evaluating foreign policy as “the sum total of all activities by which international actors act, react, and interact with the environment beyond their national borders.” Four policy-making environments are discussed, as well as the goals of foreign policy. The chapter concludes with an evaluation of foreign policy-making, the characteristics of foreign policy-making and ethical questions regarding foreign policy-making.

Murphy’s contribution deals with international institutions against the problem of co-operation among sovereigns. The reader is introduced to international law and its facets. The main focus of the chapter is on regimes, multilateral conferences, global and regional organisations. This is followed by Vincent’s chapter on non-state actors in IR, ranging from intergovernmental organisations, liberation movements, secessionist groups, terrorists, criminal organisations, international non-governmental organisations (NGOs), transnational social movements, multinational corporations and individuals. The strong focus on Africa and Southern Africa, in particular, is one of the major strengths of the book. Osaghae’s chapter positions Africa in the global system from 1600 to the period of decolonisation. This is followed by Southall’s contribution on Africa in the contemporary world. He discusses the impact of the Cold War on Africa. Africa’s economic problems are also addressed under a section on structural adjustment and political liberalisation. Schoeman discusses the features of the African state. This determines the patterns of Africa’s IR. Osaghae’s second contribution to the book is on the post-colonial African state and its problems. He asks why the post-colonial African state is so weak, and points to external and domestic factors playing major roles.

In their contribution on making foreign policy in South Africa, Le Pere and Van Nieuwkerk concern themselves with the processes that underpin and inform the making of foreign policy in South Africa. South Africa’s foreign policy settings are discussed, as well as the actors involved. The decision to normalise South Africa’s relations with the People’s Republic of China is presented as a case study in foreign policy decision-making.

The chapter dealing with South Africa in the context of South-South relations by Alden, outlines the rise of the South, its institutions and South Africa’s position in it. This is followed by a consideration of the regional subsystem of Southern Africa by McGowan. He traces the historical development of the region and its current structure, as well as the main features of the regional subsystem. Building on the previous chapter is Ahwireng-Obeng’s contribution on the dimensions of sustainable development in Southern Africa. The development question and challenges in the region are discussed.

Power, wealth and global order contains two very useful appendices. The first appendix (by McGowan) provides useful information on using the Internet to gather information on IR. The appendix compiled by Lamprecht offers students insight into possible careers in IR. An elaborate glossary is also included. The textbook has a friendly and modern layout, including maps and graphics. Each chapter includes a chapter outline, a list of key concepts, as well as a list of suggested reading material.

If there is any criticism against the book, it is that there is a lack of African contributors from outside South Africa. Perhaps a concluding chapter on power, wealth and global order could have been added. The question of Africa’s marginalisation is not addressed satisfatorily. Another useful contribution could have been on African conflict and efforts to resolve it. The book is also silent on both the Muslim and the African Renaissance. This notwithstanding, it offers a sound introduction to global political and economic relations. The strong focus on Africa and Southern Africa makes it a must read for anyone interested in Africa and particularly in Southern Africa.

Buy Here



Latest News and Resources

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
Prev Next

ACCORD at second African Think Tank summit

A delegation from ACCORD have attended the 2nd African Think Tank Summit, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 6 – 8 April. The event was attended by over 60 think tanks, with participants from 30 countries. The first Summit was...

10-04-2015 in General

ACCORD represented at World Alliance of Religions Peace Summit in Africa

'Vusa izizwe namhlanje!' (Wake up the nations today!) was the motto of the World Alliance of Religions Peace Summit in Africa at which the ACCORD was represented by Prof Jannie Malan, Senior Researcher and Managing Editor of the African Journal...

10-04-2015 in Knowledge Production

TfP/ACCORD support African Standby Capacity Integrated Human Resource and Database Training Course

The African Union Commission (AUC) and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and Regional Mechanisms (RMs) have been developing a civilian standby roster since its conceptualisation in 2010. To date, significant progress has been made to improve the roster in order...

09-04-2015 in Peacekeeping

ACCORD discuss MoU with IGAD in support of peace and security in the region

ACCORD has hosted H.E. Ambassador Tewolde Gebremeskel, the Director of Peace and Security at the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). H.E. Ambassador Gebremeskel represented IGAD's Executive Secretary, H.E. Ambassador Mahboub Maalim. The visit enabled discussions between the regional body (IGAD...

09-04-2015 in General

ACCORD attend 2015 TfP AGM in Olso

The Training for Peace in Africa (TfP) Programme at ACCORD (TfP/ACCORD) have participated in the TfP Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Oslo, Norway. The AGM's purpose was to highlight the TfP Programme's main achievements and developments in 2014, and present...

02-04-2015 in Peacekeeping

ACCORD publishes policy & practice brief on the eve of Nigeria's highly anticipated election

The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) has published a Policy & Practice Brief (PPB) on the upcoming election in Nigeria. Co-authored by J. Shola Omotola, a Senior Lecturer in political science and public administration at Redeemer's...

27-03-2015 in Knowledge Production

ACCORD host launch of Professor Wiseman Nkuhlu biography

On 24th March 2014 ACCORD hosted the launch of Professor Wiseman Nkuhlu's biography, entitled "A Life of Purpose". The book follows Professor Nkuhlu's memorable path from student activist, to Robben Island prisoner at 19, to becoming South Africa's first black...

26-03-2015 in Trustees

ACCORD Trustee Ambassador Modise recognized at the inaugural Ubuntu Awards

On 14 February 2015 ACCORD Trustee H.E. Ambassador Billy Modise, was one of the recipients of the Ubuntu Lifetime Achiever Award, presented at the inaugural Ubuntu Awards ceremony hosted by the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO)...

12-03-2015 in Trustees

Peacebuilding in Africa: evolving challenges, responses and new thinking

From the 23th to the 25th of February 2015, the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) was represented at a conference hosted by Wilton Park in the United Kingdom, organized under the theme of 'Peacebuilding in Africa:...

12-03-2015 in Peacebuilding

TfP/ACCORD participate in expert workshop on impact of peacekeeping training on peace and security in West Africa

The Training for Peace in Africa (TfP) Programme at ACCORD (TfP/ACCORD) participated in an Expert workshop on Impact of Peacekeeping Training on Peace and Security in West Africa. The workshop forms part of a research on peacekeeping training which was...

10-03-2015 in Peacekeeping

Lesotho elections the topic of discussion at recent ACCORD internal staff seminar

On 26 February 2015, two days before the general elections that took place in the Kingdom of Lesotho, the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) hosted an internal staff seminar where Thulisa Ndlela, Programme Officer in the...

06-03-2015 in Knowledge Production

TfP/ACCORD supports African Regional Consultation Seminar on UN Peace Operations Review

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon established a 17 member High-Level Independent Panel in October 2014 to undertake an assessment of the state of UN peace operations, and the emerging operational needs of the future" 'Understanding the relationship between the...

06-03-2015 in Peacekeeping

ACCORD discuss gender normative frameworks and nuanced challenges to gender parity and empowerment in Africa ahead of International Women's Day

Broad discussion and debate on the nuanced challenges to the achievement of gender parity and women's empowerment in Africa characterised an Internal Staff Seminar (ISS) recently hosted at the Durban offices of the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of...

06-03-2015 in Women

ACCORD hosts senior official from SA Department of International Relations & Cooperation

On Friday 20 February 2015, ACCORD hosted Ms Maud Dlomo, Deputy Director General (DDG) for Training, Research and Development at the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) for a visit to ACCORD House in Durban, South Africa.

23-02-2015 in General

ACCORD/TfP co-hosts experts’ roundtable on developing a Conduct and Discipline Framework for the AU PSOs

Since its establishment, the AU has played an increased and expanded role in addressing conflicts in the African Continent, including in Darfur, Burundi, Mali, the Central Africa Republic and Somalia. As part of its intervention, the AU has developed policies...

20-02-2015 in Peacekeeping

ACCORD's Executive Director participates in World Bank forum on fragility, conflict and violence

Increasing recognition of the relationships and dynamics between state fragility, conflict and violence now positions these issues amongst the central foci of conflict and development practitioners worldwide. It is in this light that ACCORD's Founder and Executive Director participated in...

20-02-2015 in Executive

Advancing an African peacebuilding agenda

From the 11th to the 12th of February 2015, the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) was represented at a conference hosted by the Institute of Security Studies in Pretoria, South Africa, organized under the theme of...

20-02-2015 in Peacebuilding

Report on the Fourth International Africa Peace and Conflict Resolution Conference published by ACCORD

The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD), in partnership with the Center for African Peace and Conflict Resolution (CAPCR) at California State University, Sacramento, have published a report on the proceedings of the Fourth International Africa Peace...

16-02-2015 in Knowledge Production