Critical international relations theory

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Critical international relations theory is a diverse set of schools of thought in international relations (IR) that have criticized the theoretical, meta-theoretical and/or political status quo, both in IR theory and in international politics more broadly – from positivist as well as postpositivist positions. Positivist critiques include Marxist and neo-Marxist approaches and certain ("conventional") strands of social constructivism. Postpositivist critiques include poststructuralist, postcolonial, "critical" constructivist, critical theory (in the strict sense used by the Frankfurt School), neo-Gramscian, most feminist, and some English School approaches, as well as non-Weberian historical sociology,[1] "international political sociology", "critical geopolitics", and the so-called "new materialism"[2] (partly inspired by actor–network theory). All of these latter approaches differ from both realism and liberalism in their epistemological and ontological premises.

Such theories are now widely recognized and taught and researched in many universities, but are less common in the United States. They are taught at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels in many major universities outside the US, where a major concern is that "a myopic discipline of IR might contribute to the continued development of a civil society in the U.S. that thinks, reflects and analyzes complex international events through a very narrow set of theoretical lenses".[3]

See also[edit]




Connolly, William E. (2013). "The 'New Materialism' and the Fragility of Things". Millennium: Journal of International Studies. 41 (3): 399–412. doi:10.1177/0305829813486849. ISSN 1477-9021.
Coole, Diana; Frost, Samantha, eds. (2010). New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press. ISBN 978-0-8223-4753-8.
Hobden, Stephen; Hobson, John M., eds. (2002). Historical Sociology of International Relations. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-80870-5.
Smith, Steve (2002). "The United States and the Discipline of International Relations: 'Hegemonic Country, Hegemonic Discipline'". International Studies Review. 4 (2): 67–85. doi:10.1111/1521-9488.00255. ISSN 1468-2486. JSTOR 3186354.
Van der Tuin, Iris; Dolphijn, Rick (2012). New Materialism: Interviews and Cartographies. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Open Humanities Press. doi:10.3998/ohp.11515701.0001.001. ISBN 978-1-60785-281-0.

Further reading[edit]

Campell, David; George, Jim (1990). "Patterns of Dissent and the Celebration of Difference: Critical Social Theory and International Relations". International Studies Quarterly. 34 (3): 269–293. doi:10.2307/2600570. ISSN 1468-2478. JSTOR 2600570.
Cox, Robert W. (2001). "The Way Ahead: Toward a New Ontology of World Order". In Wyn Jones, Richard. Critical Theory and World Politics. Boulder, Colorado: Lyenner Rienner Publishers. pp. 45–60. ISBN 978-1-55587-802-3.
Devetak, Richard (2005). "Critical Theory" (PDF). In Burchill, Scott; Linklater, Andrew; Devetak, Richard; Donnelly, Jack; Paterson, Matthew; Reus-Smit, Christian; True, Jacqui. Theories of International Relations (3rd ed.). London: Palgrave MacMillan. pp. 137–160. ISBN 978-1-4039-4865-6. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
Edkins, Jenny (1999). Poststructuralism & International Relations: Bringing the Political Back in. Boulder, Colorado: Lynne Rienner Publishers. ISBN 978-1-55587-845-0.
Enloe, Cynthia (2004). The Curious Feminist: Searching for Women in a New Age of Empire. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-24381-1.
George, Jim (1994). Discourses of Global Politics: A Critical (Re)Introduction to International Relations. Boulder, Colorado: Lynne Rienner Publishers. ISBN 978-1-55587-446-9.
Jabri, Vivienne; O'Gorman, Eleanor, eds. (1999). Women, Culture, and International Relations. Boulder, Colorado: Lynne Rienner Publishers. ISBN 978-1-55587-701-9.
Keyman, Emin Fuat (1997). Globalization, State, Identity/Difference: Toward a Critical Social Theory of International Relations. Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey: Humanities Press. ISBN 978-1-57392-605-8.
Linklater, Andrew (1986). "Realism, Marxism and Critical International Theory". Review of International Studies. 12 (4): 301–312. doi:10.1017/S0260210500113865. JSTOR 20097092.
 ———  (1992). "The Question of the Next Stage in International Relations Theory: A Critical-Theoretical Point of View". Millennium. 21 (1): 77–98. doi:10.1177/03058298920210010601. ISSN 1477-9021.
 ———  (1996). "The Achievements of Critical Theory". In Smith, Steve; Booth, Ken; Zalewski, Marysia. International Theory: Positivism and Beyond. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. pp. 279–298. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511660054.015. ISBN 978-0-511-66005-4.
 ———  (1997). "The Transformation of Political Community: E. H. Carr, Critical Theory and International Relations". Review of International Studies. 23 (3): 321–338. ISSN 1469-9044. JSTOR 20097484. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
Roach, Steven C., ed. (2007). Critical Theory and International Relations: A Reader. New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-95419-8.
Ross, Carne (2007). Independent Diplomat: Despatches from an Unaccountable Elite. London: C. Hurst & Co. doi:10.7591/j.ctt1tm7g38 (inactive 2018-11-04). ISBN 978-1-85065-843-6. JSTOR 10.7591/j.ctt1tm7g38.
Sylvester, Christine (2002). Feminist International Relations: An Unfinished Journey. Cambridge Studies in International Relations. 77. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-79177-9.
Weber, Cynthia (2004). International Relations Theory: A Critical Introduction (2nd ed.). Abingdon, England: Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-0-415-34208-7.