chapter  2
20 Pages

For Someone and for Some Purpose: An interview with Robert W. Cox

Robert W. Cox is widely regarded as one of the leading critical theorists in the study of world politics. Spanning International Relations Theory and International Political Economy, his work has been hugely infl uential since the publication of his two articles ‘Social Forces, States and World Orders’ (1981) and ‘Gramsci, Hegemony and International Relations’ (1983). Cox was born in 1926 in Montreal, Canada, and worked for 20 years at the International Labour Organization – an experience that inspired his fi rst book (co-authored with Harold Jacobson), The Anatomy of Infl uence: Decision-Making in International Organization (1974). He then turned to the academia and taught at Columbia University and York University, Toronto. His most recent book, co-authored with Michael Schecheter, The Political Economy of a Plural World: Critical Refl ections on Power, Morals and Civilization (2002), with its focus on civilizational encounters and post-hegemonic forms of human community, has signalled a new step in his ever-evolving critical thinking.