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The papers [in this issue] are diverse and wide ranging, touching upon an array of seemingly unrelated themes from very different theoretical perspectives. Collectively, however, they highlight two things. Firstly, the range of approaches taken in this issue to analyse the international politics of oil highlights that the pursuit of sustainable and secure energy supplies is at the heart of world politics, intersecting with just about every significant contemporary global challenge. That a special edition on the international politics of oil can cover so much ground is an indication of how wide ranging the consequences of ongoing hydrocarbon dependence are and the challenges this presents for humanity. Secondly, and perhaps most significantly, it shows how much can be learnt about the changing nature of politics through the study of oil. Because oil represents a crucible for exploring the intersection of political economy, development, foreign policy, and international cooperation, it offers a starting point for asking more profound questions about the changing nature of contemporary world politics and how it should be conceptualised by academia. In that regard the papers in this special edition are as much about ‘international politics’ as they are about the ‘international politics of oil.’

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Journal article


St Antony's College, University of Oxford

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