Arts & International Affairs: Volume 3, Issue 1, Spring 2018 - Page 11

THE ENDURING VISION OF A WORLD WITHOUT WAR ple behind the ideal of peace. The purpose of turning to propaganda as a methodological approach is to focus on both the process and the idea behind the acts of propaganda, to conceptualise UNESCO as a political actor, and to shed light on the underlying tension of the interplay of ideology, power and politics in the UNESCO context. This approach will provide the means to address the organisation’s aspirations towards a peaceful world not as an unattainable dream of a better world, but as concrete endeavours towards a world finally free of the horrors of war. But how on earth were they planning to achieve such a goal through something as seemingly meaningless as a film catalogue? Propaganda as a Method of Inquiry—The English School and the Mediation of Values What is perhaps considered a more classic definition of the concept of international soci- ety, is a later elaboration by Hedley Bull and Adam Watson (1984:1): “[A] group of states (or, more generally, a group of independent political communities) which not merely form a system, in the sense that the behaviour of each is a necessary factor in the calcula- tions of the others, but also have established by dialogue and consent common rules and institutions for the conduct of their relations, and recognize their common interest in maintaining these arrangements.” While this definition is very handy in the sense that it clarifies the coexistence of the Hobbesian system element and the Grotian level of order as socially constructed, it lacks the reference to values made in Bull’s earlier definition, even though some form of a common identity or ideology could be seen to function as a basis of common rules, institutions and interests. As values are of specific interest to my discussion, I will take as a starting point Bull’s original understanding of the concept. For Bull, society was constituted through a diversity of political practices: international law, the balance of power, diplomacy, the great powers and war. These primary institu- tions are built around shared understandings, but they can also be seen to be institution- alised in international organisations. As Bull himself hesitantly noted, the part interna- tional organisations play in the maintenance of order in world politics is an important one, and one best understood in terms of their contribution to the working of what he defined as the basic institutions. The role of these organisations, Bull argued, should not be approached in terms of their aims and aspirations, let alone through the hopes pro- jected onto them. However, one could argue that these are precisely the factors which define the shape of the contribution by a given organisation to the maintenance of the basic institutions. Despite the limited amount of attention given in Bull’s theory to inter- national organisations, the emphasis on the dual challenge of not only managing power, but also mediating between conflicting values allows us to draw a direct connection with UNESCO. UNESCO does not aim to establish itself as a form of world government or a universal authority above the state level, nor does it have the means to do so. Instead, it aims to position itself as a balancing mediator between conflicting interests and a con- structor of shared values in an international system defined by the lack of an unchal- lenged authority above the state—in other words, international anarchy as defined by 11