Socialisation in Regional International Societies
: Turkey and the Middle East

  • Ali Murat Kursun

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This study challenges the dominant view within the English School theory that European regional international societies encompassed all other regional international societies in the course of history, instead arguing that regional international societies can coexist with their own social configurations in contemporary world order. Based on this fundamental rationale, this thesis begins with a critique of the English School theory and the Eurocentric approach in international society studies and addresses this through the concept of “regional international society”. It then empirically examines this issue through the examples of the Middle Eastern regional international society and Turkey. In this context, this thesis poses the research question: “How did Turkey become socialised in the Middle Eastern regional international society and with its practices in the long process starting with the Ottoman Empire until the modern Turkish Republic in the 2000s?”. To answer this question, this thesis presents several theoretical modifications, as a response to Barry Buzan’s model of studying regional international societies. Accordingly, it proposes the concept of "practice" instead of "institution," reintegrates the concept of "socialisation" into international society studies, offers a more relational perspective with historical depth, and employs a process sociology approach to track directions of change. Within this framework, the first empirical finding of this study is the necessity of integrating the Ottoman Empire into the studies of the Middle Eastern regional international society. This integration allows the thesis to liberate the study of the Middle East regional international society from a Eurocentric approach. The second significant finding of this study is the need to understand and interpret the Middle Eastern regional international society not through Europeancentric “institutions” but through its historical processes and practices. Consequently, this study examines the Middle Eastern regional international society and its transformation through "practices of succession and intervention" and "practices of divisions." The final finding of this study is that Turkey's socialisation with the Middle Eastern regional international society has been shaped by power balances and security concerns since the Ottoman period until the 2000s. This study establishes an analytical model that can be applied in different cases for the English School and international society studies, and it opens constructive avenues for the study of different regional international societies freed from the Eurocentric approaches.
Date of Award2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
SupervisorAndrew Linklater (Supervisor), Warren Dockter (Supervisor), Kamila Stullerova (Supervisor) & Charalampos Efstathopoulos (Supervisor)


  • English school
  • regional international society
  • Middle Eastern regional international society
  • Turkey
  • socialisation
  • process sociology

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