Since 1989 the concept of 'civil war' has taken on new salience in international relations. Significant inquiries into inter-ethnic violence emphasizing studies of political community, identity, sovereignty and political organization have dominated the study of civil war in the past decade. Processes of social denationalization of national identity have become more prevalent in everyday politics.
In this book leading European scholars analyze the proposition that the world has returned to a system of neo-medievalism over a decade after the end of the Cold War. The chapters explore the idea that a system of overlapping authorities and crisis-crossing loyalties has arguably eliminated the absolute authority claimed and exercised by sovereign states.
As new actors have emerged, new social processes have also emerged. Not only is this gradually undoing international society, but such a system is radically transforming political life itself, returning it to something analogous to the medieval world. This book argues that an increasing lack of mutual recognition among entities, an absence of organized 'anarchy' and a much more complex pattern of relationships to consider, perhaps signifies a new Middle Ages.
The book is a special issue of the journal Civil Wars.