Andrew Bennett and Colin Elman
This article focuses on a third generation of qualitative methods research. Third-generation qualitative methods provide a unique bridge between the single-logic-of-inference and interpretivist communities. Accepting comparison and intuitive regression as part of its underlying justification, the third-generation case study approach is readily compatible with large-n studies, as well as being accepting of many of the claims of the comparative advantages offered by quantitative methods. The article considers some of the ways in which the third generation has developed and suggest potentially fruitful directions for future research. It focuses on some key innovations in third-generation qualitative methods over the last decade regarding within-case analysis, comparative case studies, case selection, concepts and measurement, counterfactual analysis, typological theorizing, and Fuzzy Set analysis. It concludes with a discussion of promising avenues for future developments in qualitative methods.
Janice Bially Mattern
Where there is politics there is power. It is no surprise, hence, that the concept of power is fundamental to the study of world politics. Power, or, more exactly, the particular way in which it is conceived at any given time, has been a significant constitutive force defining the discipline of international relations. As an ‘essentially contested concept’ whose meaning has broadened substantially over the years, the developments in conceptual thinking about power have progressively demanded acceptance of new empirical focuses, research methods, and normative logics into the lexicon of what counts as international relations. Contestation over the concept of power, thus, has helped broaden the discipline. And yet, if a broad discipline is desirable for the ‘engaged pluralism’ it facilitates, such benefits seem to have escaped international relations. In fact, international relations scholars have responded to the breadth of the discipline by narrowing both their views on power and their empirical, methodological, and normative schemas. The unfortunate result is that international relations is less a discipline than a collection of insular research communities; it is an (un)discipline. If international relations is to amount to more than a cacophony of disconnected views on world politics, these niches need to communicate.
This article examines the features that distinguish constructivism from other approaches to international relations and then looks at some controversies within constructivist scholarship today and between constructivists and others. The rise of the constructivist approach has encouraged new strands of empirical and philosophical research in international relations, and has led to interesting end problems at the boundary between constructivism and other approaches. Two strands of research, on the relations between strategic behaviour and international norms and between rationalism and constructivism, serve as examples of promising research in constructivist international relations theory.
Etel Solingen and Wilfred Wan
Historical institutionalism as an explicit tradition has largely remained on the sidelines in international security scholarship, with some exceptions. The chapter begins by reviewing the sources of resistance to the tradition in security studies. We then apply its analytical toolbox to two empirical realms at different levels of analysis: divergent regional security paths in East Asia and the Middle East; and the evolution of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. These cases show the utility of historical institutionalism in spanning sub-national, regional and international levels of analysis; its value for examining the role of critical junctures for evolving security arrangements; and its timely applicability beyond topical, geographical, and ontological foci that have been standard fare in security studies.
This article provides an overview of the most important elements of the critical theory of international relations. Any inquiry into critical international relations theory has to distinguish at least two central components. The first is the epistemological and methodological, what it says about theory; and the second is the normative and substantive, what it says about the world. In other words, ‘why do we study international relations and how do we study international relations’? The article demonstrates this by examining, first, the nature of the critical theory theoretical project and how it differs from and challenges mainstream conceptions of international relations; and secondly, the contributions that have been made by critical international relations theory so far. It begins with a brief discussion of the origins of critical theory and critical international relations theory before examining the major claims and achievements.
The Dialectics of Power and Powerlessness in Transnational Feminist Networks: Online Struggles Around Gender-based Violence
Priya Kurian, Debashish Munshi, and Anuradha Mundkur
Transnational feminist networks use the Internet to mobilize people and create spaces to debate global and local issues. Despite their successful use in feminist networking, they remain fraught spaces where global agendas may trump local articulations. This chapter explores the uses of virtual spaces by TFNs and local activists around violence against women, invoking notions of gendered citizenship and unearthing the dialectics of power and powerlessness among feminist activists. It studies the responses to violence against women by the UN Commission on the Status of Women and two TFNs: Women Living Under Muslim Law and 50 Million Missing. It relates this analysis to ideas of citizenship in social media postings on the gang-rape and murder of a young woman in India in 2012 and shows how diverse networks of women and men simultaneously negotiate the cultural politics of cyberspace alongside the place-based politics of gender and cultural violence.
Peter Katzenstein and Rudra Sil
This article calls for the accommodation of eclectic modes of scholarship in international relations that trespass deliberately and liberally across competing research traditions with the intention of defining and exploring substantive problems in original, creative ways. The article first outlines a pragmatist view of social knowledge in which intellectual progress is understood as expanding the possibilities for dialogue and creative experimentation. It elaborates on the definition of analytic eclecticism, identifying its distinctive characteristics and payoffs vis-à-vis those of preexisting research traditions. It then considers a small sample of scholarship in international relations that illustrates the meaning and value of analytical eclecticism with specific reference to issues of international security and political economy. It concludes that alongside, and in dialogue with scholarship produced in specific research traditions, analytic eclecticism is a necessary and valuable asset in enabling the discipline of international relations to evolve beyond recurrent metatheoretical debates and to hold forth some promise for having meaningful practical significance beyond the academe.
International relations is no longer an American social science: the subject is taught in universities in dozens of countries and is becoming a global discipline. The English School of international relations is the oldest and arguably the most significant rival to the American mainstream. The English School purports to offer an account of international relations that combines theory and history, morality and power, agency and structure. One obvious consequence of this level of theoretical ambition is that the boundaries of the English School often appear to be unclear, which in part explains the ongoing debate about who belongs in the School and how it differs from other theoretical accounts of world politics. To shed light on these questions, Section 1 of this article considers in more depth the contextual emergence of the English School, and in particular its determination to develop an original account of interstate order. Section 2 takes its central claim — that the practice of states is shaped by international norms, regulated by international institutions, and guided by moral purposes — and explores this in relation to the countervailing forces of the states system and world society. In Section 3 the focus shifts away from debates inside the English School and toward a wider reflection on its place within international relations as a whole. It is argued that while the English School has a great deal to learn from constructivism, it should maintain its distinctive voice primarily because it has greater synthetic potential and is more openly committed to certain ethical standpoints.
Iver B. Neumann and Ole Jacob Sending
The relationship between the study and practice of security has not only changed considerably over the last 20 years, but has also become more varied, where ever more actors perform ever more specialized tasks of both analyzing and providing security. Once dominated by a principle of segmentary (territorially delimited) differentiation, we argue that the relative strength of the national framing has declined and that functional differentiation has increased over the last three decades, resulting in transnationalization in what is increasingly a market for security expertise and a proliferation of types of actors engaged in knowledge production surrounding security (e.g. International Crisis Group) as well as the practice of security. Resulting from this proliferation, there will be category-defying practices of security, for example the move toward “hybrid warfare” and in the realm of cyber security.
The perennial difficulty in the study of international relations is that general theories holding statically over time are unsatisfactory. The leading theories — emphasizing a single concept (‘realism’, ‘constructivism’, ‘liberalism’, and so on) — themselves either are unfalsifiable, or if falsifiable, are false. Both international and domestic factors have to be taken into account in order to develop a reasonable static approach to how nations behave. A three-variable conspectus that comprises: international restraints and availabilities; leadership preconceptions; and domestic restraints and pressures can explain international outcomes more fully than any of these variables taken individually. A regression equation, in short, is necessary. The coefficients of this equation, however, may have changed over time, with international coefficients having less strength than they once did and domestic ones more strength. These claims are elaborated in the first half of this article. The second half concentrates on some dynamic features of the international system that point to the possibility of different and more cooperative outcomes in the years ahead as the influence and content of these factors undergo change.