The Mightie Frame: Epochal Change and the Modern World (Hardback)Nicholas Greenwood Onuf (author)
Hardback 288 Pages / Published: 16/08/2018
- We can order this
Inspired by Michel Foucault's The Order of Things, this book tells a story about epochal change in the modern world. Like Foucault, Nicholas Onuf is concerned with how we moderns think about ourselves and our world, but in this book he emphasizes the conceptual links in the ways we think, talk, get things done, conduct ourselves, and run societies, from age to age. As with his previous work, Onuf emphasizes the "rules for rule" that have solidified over time through repeated behaviors that work themselves out into a system of social uniformity and hierarchy. Rules set out who is a member of society, establish goals, provide opportunities to act, and dictate who sits on top - in other words, what any political society looks like in a particular time and place. This book looks at the political society that has evolved since the Renaissance, or what might be called "the modern world," in order to consider what is yet to come. Onuf argues that modernity, although consisting of a succession of epochs or ages separated by great ruptures, has continued to change within the confines of a "mightie frame" (a turn of phrase he borrows from John Milton). Epoch by epoch, this frame has linked the limits of our knowledge, a la Michel Foucault, to conditions of rule, and it points to a plausible ethics for what comes next. But unlike Foucault, Onuf argues that modernism marked an end to societal and political transitions, and that we have entered a period during which established conditions of rule are likely to be reinforced - and the mighty frame will grow ever mightier.
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 522 g
Dimensions: 241 x 163 x 25 mm
"In this fugue of metaphors and minds, Nicholas Onuf uncovers yet another layer of the modern political world and its making, taking off where World of Our Making left us. The Mightie Frame takes international theory into hitherto uncharted intellectual terrains, the result being a truly fascinating story of epochal change and the role of our political imagination in bringing it about." - Jens Bartelson, Lund Unversity
"The Mightie Frame gives us a strikingly original, philosophically erudite, and conceptually profound (re)interpretation of modernity, depicting its stages and gesturing towards its future. Nicholas Onuf is a pioneering thinker whose work deserves engagement from all of us who wish to decipher the enigmas of our 21st century world. Truly, an indispensable book." - Richard Falk, Albert G. Milbank Professor of International Law Emeritus, Princeton University, and author of Revisiting the Vietnam War
"This is indeed a 'mighty frame', exciting and demanding but intensely rewarding, taking the reader on a breathtaking tour of Western civilization and its different attempts to make sense of our collective life. Playing on the metaphors of rupture, systems, and levels-among others-Onuf's magnum opus summarizing a life-long engagement with social theory is a conceptually sophisticated interrogation that adroitly moves between systematic thinking and historical reflection, trying to understand the genesis of modernity in its multiple instantiations and to assess the possibilities and limits of rule in our time." - Friedrich Kratochwil, Chair of International Relations (ret), European University Institute Florence
"Through his thoughtful and critical engagement with many of its leading philosophers and thinkers, Nicholas Onuf has constructed a masterful narrative about the modern world, its moments of rupture as well as its continuities. This is an important book by a leading International Relations theorist that ranges far and wide in its reflections on modernity. It should appeal, not only to IR scholars, but to historians, philosophers and all those concerned with better understanding the ethical dilemmas of our age." - J. Ann Tickner, American University
You may also be interested in...
Please sign in to write a review
Thank you for your reservation
Your order is now being processed and we have sent a confirmation email to you at
When will my order be ready to collect?
Call us on or send us an email at
Unfortunately there has been a problem with your order
Please try again or alternatively you can contact your chosen shop on or send us an email at