On Acting and Knowing: How Pragmatism Can Advance International Relations Research and Methodology
Title: On Acting and Knowing: How Pragmatism Can Advance International Relations Research and Methodology
Author: KRATOCHWIL, Friedrich
Citation: International Organization, 2009, 63, 701-731
This article moves from deconstruction to reconstruction in research methodology. It proposes pragmatism as a way to escape from epistemological deadlock. We first show that social scientists are mistaken in their hope to obtain warranted knowledge through traditional scientific methods. We then show that pragmatism has grown from tacit commonsense to an explicit item on the agenda of the international relations discipline. We suggest that a coherent pragmatic approach consists of two elements: the recognition of knowledge generation as a social and discursive activity, and the orientation of research toward the generation of useful knowledge. To offer a concrete example of what pragmatic methodology can look like, we propose the research strategy of abduction. We assess various forms of research design to further elucidate how pragmatic research works in practice.
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