S36 | Responsibility in Global Politics

Section Chairs:

Hannes Hansen-Magnusson,
Cardiff University

Antje Vetterlein,
Copenhagen Business School

The concept of 'responsibility' has become increasingly significant in world politics and has already materialised across diverse policy fields, such as the responsibility to protect (R2P). It might be on the rise because underlying moral values seem to receive increased attention in times of global crises, be they financial, religious or others. Who is ultimately responsible for migratory processes? Should bankers follow an ethical code of conduct? Who is responsible for mitigating the effects of climate change? It is not always easy to identify who is responsible and for what as often responsibility does not only rest with different actors at different levels, but many situations are characterised by opposing responsibility claims. The question then is to whom is one responsible (in the first place) and why? And finally, on what legal and/or moral basis are claims of/for responsibility made? Despite some recent empirical and theoretical exploration, we are far from a systematic and analytical discussion of the topic. Responsibility as such is a concept commonly referred to, yet not an explicit research object in IR, as it were.

Against this backdrop, the proposed section explores the notion of responsibility in international relations (IR) theory from a multi-disciplinary and -dimensional perspective, putting responsibility in the centre of attention. In order to pin down the notion of responsibility in IR and to explore its multifaceted meaning, potential and impact as well as its social praxis the section will approach the phenomenon from different theoretical and empirical angles.