Imitating the desire of others is inherent to the struggle for power in international politics. The imitation of desire is a human trait seldom recognized in International Relations studies, let alone conceptualized. The imitation of desire that takes place among entities—as opposed to being intentionally generated by them—challenges the conventional wisdom of International Relations that assumes rational autonomous individuals. This book identifies the root of Realism, pointing out its awareness of the conflicting impact of desire and imitation in a world driven by restless comparison. It subsequently demonstrates the conceptual value of mimetic theory while proposing a template of understanding international polities, starting from assumptions of disorder and violence. This volume not only contributes to the study of conflict based on the imitation of the desire of others among international polities, but also proposes in its conceptualization that it is worth looking at studies of agency and structure, normative change, peace, and reconciliation.
“Jodok Troy belongs to a younger generation of highly creative European scholars making novel connections between international theory and cultural and social theory. In this new work, Troy deploys the literary theorist René Girard’s theory of mimetic desire to explore ideas of fundamental interest to students of international politics. This is an innovative book that should be read by political scientists and scholars of international studies, aswell as cultural and social theorists.” —WILLIAM E. SCHEUERMAN, James H. Rudy Professor of Political Science, Indiana University Bloomington