The Sociology of a Not So International Discipline: American and European Developments in International Relations

Published on Oct 1, 1998in International Organization4.51
· DOI :10.1162/002081898550725
Ole Wæver19
Estimated H-index: 19
The international relations (IR) discipline is dominated by the American research community. Data about publication patterns in leading journals document this situation as well as a variance in theoretical orientations. IR is conducted differently in different places. The main patterns are explained through a sociology of science model that emphasizes the different nineteenth-century histories of the state, the early format of social science, and the institutionalized delineation among the different social sciences. The internal social and intellectual structure of American IR is two-tiered, with relatively independent subfields and a top layer defined by access to the leading journals (on which IR, in contrast to some social sciences, has a high consensus). The famous successive “great debates” serve an important function by letting lead theorists focus and structure the whole discipline. IR in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom has historically been structured differently, often with power vested more locally. American IR now moves in a direction that undermines its global hegemony. The widespread turn to rational choice privileges a reintegration (and status-wise rehabilitation) with the rest of political science over attention to IR practices elsewhere. This rationalistic turn is alien to Europeans, both because their IR is generally closer to sociology, philosophy, and anthropology, and because the liberal ontological premises of rational choice are less fitting to European societies. Simultaneously, European IR is beginning to break the local power bastions and establish independent research communities at a national or, increasingly, a European level. As American IR turns from global hegemony to national professionalization, IR becomes more pluralistic.
  • References (0)
  • Citations (302)
Cited By302
Published on Feb 21, 2019in European Journal of International Relations2.76
Peter Marcus Kristensen5
Estimated H-index: 5
(UCPH: University of Copenhagen)
This article examines the relationship between the geopolitical rise of new powers in international relations and knowledge production in International Relations. It draws on the science studies literature on the ‘co-production’ of science and politics to conceptualise and analyse this relationship between the ‘state of emergence’ and ‘state of knowledge’. I argue that the ‘state of emergence’ should be conceptualised not only as a real-world condition external to science that imposes itself on ...
Published on Jul 4, 2019in Journal of Intercultural Studies
Fabricio H. Chagas-Bastos (University of Melbourne), Alexandre César Cunha Leite , Jéssica Cristina Resende Máximo (PUC-MG: Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais)
ABSTRACTHow can the postcolonial thought bring to light the development of International Political Thinking in India? In this article we argue that the development of the Indian thinking about fore...
Published on Jun 21, 2019
Evelyn Goh11
Estimated H-index: 11
(ANU: Australian National University)
Published on Jul 1, 2019
Christine Cheng5
Estimated H-index: 5
('KCL': King's College London),
Alison Brettle ('KCL': King's College London)
Peter Marcus Kristensen5
Estimated H-index: 5
(UCPH: University of Copenhagen)
The sociology of international relations (IR) around the world has evolved from an initial wave of critiques of its dominant American core towards a second wave of peripheral explorations that find IR to be disappointingly similar around the world. Advancing a more recent wave that stresses Southern sensibilities, hybridity and peripheral agency, this article calls for attention to the heterogeneities, positionality struggles and vernacularisations of sociological hierarchies in peripheral IR. T...
Published on Apr 2, 2019in Pacific Review1.86
AbstractThat East Asian IR communities are increasingly interested in knowledge production has become self-evident. While the form that this interest is taken in China is predominantly focused on developing a Chinese School of International Relations Theory (IRT), the situation in Japan is much more diverse and complicated. This article examines the impact of the non-Western IRT movement on Japanese IR academia from a sociology of science perspective. It finds that while indigenous theorizing ha...
Published on Mar 16, 2019in European Political Science1.14
Antonio Calcara1
Estimated H-index: 1
(Libera Università Internazionale degli Studi Sociali Guido Carli),
Davide Vittori1
Estimated H-index: 1
(Libera Università Internazionale degli Studi Sociali Guido Carli)
International relations (IR) as a discipline have had a troubled history in Italy. Indeed, the previous academic literature on the topic has highlighted how the lack of critical mass and influence of Italian IR scholarship have negatively impacted its visibility at the international level (Lucarelli and Menotti in Rivista Italiana di Scienza Politica 32(1):32–82, 2002; Friedrichs in European approaches to international relations theory: a house with many mansions, Routledge, London, 2004). Howev...