International Political Theory

Authored by: Anthony Burke

Routledge Handbook of International Political Sociology

Print publication date:  December  2016
Online publication date:  December  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415732253
eBook ISBN: 9781315446486
Adobe ISBN: 9781315446479

10.4324/9781315446486.ch6

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Abstract

We could be forgiven, for a moment, for thinking that there is in fact no international political theory – given that a certain ‘American’ version of social science holds the view that international relations is little more than a play of actors and variables across a bedrock of givens. We know, however, that the bedrock is in fact merely AstroTurf, and the science a cartoon, a whimsically drawn outline of a more complex reality. In such theory, the political stakes of the international – the kinds of worlds it could be, and for whom – are invisible, as are the underlying ethical and ontological assumptions of its givens. In this positivistic vision of social science, the fundamental questions theorists have been asking about the international – who its significant actors and collectivities are, what its purpose is, what and whom it is meant to benefit, and whether it is amenable to change and for what ends – are silenced, or at least significantly narrowed.

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