International Relations, Irrelevant? Don’t blame theory

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Show simple item record REUS-SMIT, Christian 2012-05-29T08:00:19Z 2012-05-29T08:00:19Z 2012
dc.identifier.citation Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 2012, 40, 3, 525–540 en
dc.identifier.issn 0305-8298
dc.identifier.issn 1477-9021
dc.description First published online: June 2012
dc.description.abstract It is now commonplace to bemoan our field’s lack of practical relevance, and to blame this sorry situation on our penchant for ever-more abstract theorising over the analysis of real-world phenomena. This article challenges this rendition of the problem. Not only is the theory versus relevance thesis difficult to sustain empirically, there are good reasons to believe that even the most abstract forms of metatheory are relevant to sound practical knowledge. More than this, though, the theory versus relevance thesis misconstrues the problem. The obstacle to practical relevance is not theoretical abstraction, but a series of other disciplinary problems: our lack of any real interest in the nature of politics as a distinctive form of human action (which so animated early scholars in the field); the loss of the field’s early practical intent; the sadly too common bifurcation of explanatory and normative inquiry; and the disappearance of the figure of the international public intellectual. en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject International Relations as a realm of practical discourse en
dc.subject practical relevance en
dc.subject theory en
dc.title International Relations, Irrelevant? Don’t blame theory en
dc.type Article en
dc.identifier.doi 10.1177/0305829812442046

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