Jeff D. Colgan

May 10, 2022

Partial Hegemony

Oil Politics and International Order

Oxford University Press 2021

When and why does international order change? The largest peaceful transfer of wealth across borders in all of human history began with the oil crisis of 1973. OPEC countries turned the tables on the most powerful businesses on the planet, quadrupling the price of oil and shifting the global distribution of profits. It represented a huge shift in international order. Yet, the textbook explanation for how world politics works-that the most powerful country sets up and sustains the rules of international order after winning a major war-doesn't fit these events, or plenty of others.

Instead of thinking of the international order as a single thing, Jeff Colgan explains how it operates in parts, and often changes in peacetime. Partial Hegemony: Oil Politics and International Order (Oxford University Press, 2021) offers lessons for leaders and analysts seeking to design new international governing arrangements to manage an array of pressing concerns ranging from US-China rivalry to climate change, and from nuclear proliferation to peacekeeping. A major contribution to international relations theory, this book promises to reshape our understanding of the forces driving change in world politics.

Jeff D. Colgan is Richard Holbrooke Associate Professor of Political Science at Brown University and the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs. He is also author of Petro-Aggression: When Oil Causes War.

Caleb Zakarin is the Assistant Editor of the New Books Network (Twitter: @caleb_zakarin).

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