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Peter Gowan

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Peter Gowan

Peter Gowan (15 January 1946, Glasgow – 12 June 2009) was a Professor of International Relations at London Metropolitan University, activist, published author and public speaker. He was a member of the editorial committee of New Left Review and was one of the founders of Labour Focus on Eastern Europe.

With his older sister and his mother he moved to Belfast in April 1946 and lived there until he was nine. He never knew his father.

He went to school at Princess Gardens in Belfast until he was seven and then to Brackenburgh House. When he was nine his mother moved to London to work and he went to prep school in Suffolk, Orwell Park, ultimately becoming head boy. He left there to go to Haileybury and Imperial Service College, in Hertfordshire when he was 13, in 1959 and from there went on to read politics and history at Southampton University.

Gowan was diagnosed with his fatal illness only a couple of weeks after the onset of the world financial crisis.

Despite knowing that his condition was terminal and his health fast-deteriorating, he not only bore it with good humour, but bravely continued to work to the limits of his capacity over the following months: his article "Crisis in the Heartland" for the January–February 2009 issue of New Left Review provides a succinct account of how he interpreted the origins of the financial crisis.

Peter Gowan died at age 63 from the asbestos related disease, peritoneal mesothelioma on 12 June 2009.[1]



  • A Calculus of Power: Grand Strategy in the Twenty-First Century (Verso 2010)
  • The Search for Order: Historical Reflections on the Crisis of Grand Strategies (Verso 2008)
  • The Twisted Road to Kosovo (Manifest, Stockholm, 2000)
  • The Global Gamble: Washington's Faustian Bid for World Dominance (Verso, 1999)
  • Crisis East and West: Must it be Global Barbarism? (Spokesman Books 1997)
  • The Question of Europe - Peter Gowan; Perry Anderson (eds) (Verso 1997)
  • European Union Policy Towards the Visegrad States (London Metropolitan University 1996)


  • Friedrich Von Hayek and the Construction of a Neoliberal Europe in ContreTemps , No. 4, Feb 2011
  • 'Crisis in the Heartland' in New Left Review, 55, January–February 2009
  • 'Twilight of the NPT?' in New Left Review, 52, July–August 2008
  • 'War in the Contest for a New World Order' (unpublished paper 2007)
  • 'A Radical Realist' in New Left Review, 41, September–October 2006
  • 'America, Capitalism, and the Interstate System' in Critical Asian Studies Volume 37, No. 3 (2005)
  • A Salutary Shock for Bien Pensant Europe in Radical Philosophy, 133, September/October 2005
  • 'PAX EUROPÆA' in New Left Review, 34, July–August 2005
  • 'Economics and Politics within the Capitalist Core and the Debate on the New Imperialism' (unpublished paper 2005)
  • 'Peter Gowan and the Capitalist World Empire' (text by Peter Gowan plus additional comments by four other contributors) in Journal of World-Systems Research, Vol 10, No. 2, pp. 471–539 (Summer 2004).
  • 'American Lebensraum' in New Left Review, 30, November–December 2004
  • 'Europe and the New Imperialism' in Labour Focus on Eastern Europe, No 75'76, pp. 113–141, (Summer-Autumn 2004)
  • ‘Triumphing towards International Disaster: The Impasse in American Grand Strategy’ in Critical Asian Studies Volume 36, No. 1 (2004)
  • ‘The Concept of Empire Today’ in Temas, Cultura, Ideologia, Sociedad, Numero 34, 2004 (Cuba, 2004)
  • ‘An Empire as "Superstructure"’ in Security Dialogue, 35, 2, June 2004 (International Peace Research Institute Oslo, 2004)
  • 'US:UN’ in New Left Review, 24, November–December 2003
  • ‘US Hegemony Today’ in Monthly Review, July–August, 2003
  • ‘Cooperation and Conflict in Transatlantic Relations After the Cold War’, in Interventions International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, Vol. 5, No.2, 2003.
  • ‘Instruments of Empire’ in New Left Review, 21, May–June 2003.
  • 'The New American Century?' in The Spokesman No. 76 (2002)
  • '11 September, American Grand Strategy and World Politics' in Recherches Internationales, no. 66, (2002)
  • ‘After Kosovo: Unanswered Questions’ in Journal of Southern Europe and the Balkans. Winter edn., 2002
  • ‘A Calculus of Power’ in New Left Review, 16, July–August, 2002
  • 'Book review - The Global Political Economy and Post-1989 Change' in The American Political Science Review, Vol. 96, No. 2 June 2002
  • ‘After America?’ in New Left Review, 13, January–February 2002
  • 'American Global Government: Will It Work?' in Current Marx, 2002
  • 'Neoliberal Cosmopolitanism' in New Left Review, 11, September–October 2001
  • 'The Origins of Atlantic Liberalism' in New Left Review, 8, March–April 2001
  • ‘Explaining the American Boom: The Roles of Globalisation and US Global Power’ in New Political Economy, Vol. 6, No. 3, 2001
  • 'The New Liberal Cosmopolitanism' IWM Working Paper, No. 2/2000: Vienna
  • 'A Spanish Singleton' in New Left Review, 6, November–December 2000
  • 'Placing Serbia in Context' in Journal of Southern Europe and the Balkans Volume 1, Issue 2, November 1999
  • 'The Twilight of the European Project' in CounterPunch, June 1999
  • 'The NATO Powers and the Balkan Tragedy' in New Left Review, I/234, March–April 1999
  • 'Communists and Workers in Ex-Communist Europe' in Monthly Review, May, 1998
  • 'EU Eastwards Enlargement: the Uncertainties Remain' in Labour Focus on Eastern Europe, No. 59, 1998
  • 'The Dynamics of European Enlargement' in Labour Focus on Eastern Europe, No. 56, 1997
  • 'Eastern Europe, Western Power and Neo-Liberalism' in New Left Review, I/216, March–April 1996
  • 'Neo-Liberal Theory and Practice for Eastern Europe' in New Left Review, I/213, September–October 1995
  • 'The Return of Carl Schmitt' in Debatte: Journal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe, Vol 2, Issue 1, 1994
  • 'Old Medicine, New Bottles: Western Policy Toward East Central Europe' in World Policy Journal, Vol. 9, No. 1, Winter, 1991/1992
  • 'The Gulf War, Iraq and Western Liberalism' in New Left Review, I/187, May–June 1991
  • 'Western Economic Diplomacy and the New Eastern Europe' in New Left Review, I/182, July–August 1990
  • 'The Origins of the Administrative Elite' in New Left Review, I/162, March–April 1987
  • 'The Polish Vortex: Solidarity and Socialism' in New Left Review, I/139, May–June 1983 (writing as Oliver MacDonald)
  • 'The Third Round In Poland' in New Left Review, I/101-102, January–April 1977 (writing as Peter Green)

Chapters in books

  • 'Industrial Development And International Political Conflict In Contemporary Capitalism' in Alexander Anievas (ed) Marxism and World Politics: Contesting Global Capitalism (Routledge 2010)
  • 'Crisis in the Heartland' in Martijn Konings (ed) The Great Credit Crash (Verso 2010)
  • 'American Primacy and Europeanist Responses' in Nam-Kook Kim (ed) Globalization and Regional Integration in Europe and Asia (Ashgate Publishing Limited 2009)
  • 'Global Economy' in Michael Cox, Doug Stokes (eds) US foreign policy (Oxford University Press, USA 2008)
  • 'World Market, State System and World Order Question' in International Conference Kapitalismus Reloaded (ed) Kapitalismus Reloaded: Controversy to Imperialism, Empire and Hegemony (VSA 2007)
  • 'The Trans-Atlantic Conflict over Primacy' in Faruk Tabak (ed) Allies As Rivals: The U.S., Europe, and Japan in a Changing World-System (Paradigm Publishers 2007)
  • 'Contemporary IntraCore Relations and World-Systems Theory' in Christopher Chase-Dunn, Salvatore J. Babones (eds) Global Social Change: Historical and Comparative Perspectives (Johns Hopkins University Press 2006)
  • 'The Bush Turn and The Drive for Primacy' in Alejandro Colás and Richard Saull (eds) The War on Terror and the American 'Empire' after the Cold War (Routledge 2006)
  • 'US Hegemeny Today' in Bellamy Foster, J., and Mcchesney R.W. (eds) Pox Americana: Exposing the American Empire (Monthly Review Press, 2004)
  • ‘The Transatlantic Impasse’ in Tariq Faruk (ed) A New Era of Triadic Conflict (Georgetown University, 2004)
  • ‘The New Liberal Cosmopolitanism’ in Daniele Archibugi (ed) Debating Cosmopolitics (Verso, 2003)
  • ‘The American Campaign for Global Sovereignty’ in Leo Panitch & Colin Leys (eds) Socialist Register 2003: Fighting Identities (Merlin, 2002)
  • ‘The EU and the East: Diversity without Unity?’ in M. Newman, S. Fella and M. Farrell (eds) European Integration, Unity and Diversity (Sage, 2002)
  • ‘World System Theory and Contemporary Intra-Core Relations’ in A. Fisun and T. Zhurzhenko (eds) World-System Theory and Contemporary Global Transformations (Kharkiv University Press, 2002)
  • 'The War and its Aftermath' in Philip Hammond, Edward S. Herman (eds) Degraded Capability: The Media and the Kosovo Crisis (Pluto Press 2000)
  • 'Making Sense of NATO's War on Yugoslavia' in Leo Panitch & Colin Leys (eds) Socialist Register 2000: Necessary and Unnecessary Utopias (Merlin, 1999)
  • 'The Euro-Atlantic Origins of NATO's attack on Yugoslavia' in Tariq Ali (ed) Masters of the Universe: Nato's Balkan Crusade (Verso 2000)
  • 'Passages of the Russian and Eastern Europe Left' in Leo Panitch & Colin Leys (eds) Socialist Register 1998: Communist Manifesto Now (Merlin, 1998)
  • ‘British Euro-Solipsism’ in P. Gowan, P. Anderson (eds) The Question of Europe (Verso, 1997)
  • ‘The Post-Communist Socialists in Eastern and Central Europe’ in D. Sassoon (ed) Looking Left: European Socialism After the Cold War (I.b. Tauris, 1997)
  • 'Poland's Transition from State Socialism to Capitalism' in Gerd Nonneman (ed) Political and Economic Liberalization: Dynamics and Linkages in Comparative Perspective (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1996)

Interviews and discussions

  • Peter Gowan - The Ways of the World Interview with Mike Newman and Marko Bojcun, New Left Review 59, September–October 2009
  • Peter Gowan on U.S. financial crisis Interview with This is Hell!, 2009
  • Peter Gowan on U.S. foreign policy since 1945 Interview with Against the Grain, 2009
  • Turbulence in the Imperial Dollar system, speech, October 2007
  • Universidad Nómada 2007 Conference, Peter Gowan Talks [1] [2][3]
  • The Abduction of Europa Interview with Minerva, February 2006
  • America’s Global Gamble Interview with International Viewpoint, April 2002
  • The State, Globalisation and the New Imperialism: A Roundtable Discussion, July 2001
  • Russia and Chechnya, Interview with Democracy Now, January 2000
  • Which class rules in the USSR? A debate on the character of the Soviet Union, August 1989 (as Oliver MacDonald)


  1. ^ Guardian Obituary

External links

  • Peter Gowan Obituary, The Guardian, 17 June 2009
  • London Metropolitan University Obituary
  • Transnational Institute - Peter Gowan: In Memoriam
  • Peter Gowan Obituary Debatte Journal
  • Death of a comrade – Peter Gowan: 1946–2009
  • Marx Site - An Appreciation
  • Obituary - Peter Gowan (1946-2009)
  • Peter Gowan, author of The Global Gamble Obituary
  • Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies Editorial on Peter Gowan
  • Peter Gowan, Marxism and Geopolitics by Stathis Kouvelakis
  • Peter Gowan’s Theorization of the Forms and Contradictions of US Supremacy: A Critical Assessment
  • An appreciation of Peter Gowan's contribution to the field of International Political Economy
  • The Peter Gowan Prize
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