The ends of International Relations Theory: Stages of reflexivity and modes of theorizing
2013 (English)In: European Journal of International Relations, ISSN 1354-0661, E-ISSN 1460-3713, Vol. 19, no 3, 521-541 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
International Relations theory is being squeezed between two sides. On the one hand, the world of practitioners and attached experts often perceive International Relations theory as misleading if it does not correspond to practical knowledge, and redundant when it does. The academic study of international relations can and should not be anything beyond the capacity to provide political judgment which comes through reflection on the historical experience of practitioners. On the other hand, and within its disciplinary confines, International Relations theory is reduced to a particular type of empirical theory with increasing resistance to further self-reflection. Instead, this article argues that neither reduction is viable. Reducing theory to practical knowledge runs into self-contradictions; reducing theorizing to its empirical mode underestimates the constitutive function of theories, the role of concepts, and hence the variety of necessary modes of theorizing. I present this twofold claim in steps of increasing reflexivity in International Relations theory and propose four modes of theorizing: normative, meta-theoretical, ontological/constitutive and empirical.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2013. Vol. 19, no 3, 521-541 p.
International Relations Theory, conceptual analysis, intellectual history, methodological pluralism, nature of theory in the social sciences, Norbert Elias, sociology of International Relations
Research subject Political Science
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-207184DOI: 10.1177/1354066113494327ISI: 000326236800006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-207184DiVA: diva2:647057