Faculty Colloquium: Michael Marks

Please join us Friday, September 21st, at 3 p.m. in the Alumni Lounge for our second Faculty Colloquium of this semester.

Presenter: Michael Marks, Professor of Politics

Title: Small States and Middle Powers: Metaphors of Size and Position in International Relations


Metaphors of power are at the core of the study of international relations. Power represents the idea that humans have the ability to translate agreement into action through the
harnessing of material means. Power is not the essence of the material world nor material resources themselves. It is a metaphor for the intangible qualities of persuasion that give material resources their force. This presentation examines the metaphorical notions of size and position as two ways in which power is conceptualized in international relations. For theoretical purposes, the debate between the metaphorical position of states relative to each other and their size revolves around the role power is thought to play in shaping outcomes. Approaches that conceive of states metaphorically as “big” or “small” are less prone to hypothesize changes in size as major sources of instability in international relations than approaches which conceive of states altering their position “on top,” “in the middle,” or “at the bottom” of a hierarchically ordered arrangement of states.

Students are welcome and coffee and treats will be provided. We look forward to seeing you there.

Bill Kelm and Daniel Rouslin
Faculty Colloquium Coordinators