2009 Prize in International Relations
Winner: Alain Noël and Jean-Philippe Thérien
Left and Right in Global Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2008)
Excerpt from jury report: Noël and Thérien make a provocative and stimulating case for taking the left-right divide seriously in the study of world politics. The authors provide a rich historical analysis of how left-right politics has played out in international history, and draw on extensive comparative empirical data to highlight its centrality in contemporary debates about global poverty and development, as well as on subjects such as the politics of identity, the war on terror, and global environmental concerns. Instead of devising a new conceptual framework for analyzing international politics, the authors cogently demonstrate the enduring power of an old dichotomy centred on universal contestations over the meaning of equality. This book also refreshingly reminds scholars of the need to be more transparent about the partisan nature of political debates, including those among scholars, and to be more appreciative of how the left-right division makes global politics intelligible, clarifying what is at stake, and what is held in common in global disagreements. It is a rare book indeed which offers so much to such a wide range of students and scholars, at all levels of their academic careers.