Published online by Cambridge University Press: 26 October 2009
In a period when international relations theory has painfully awakened from its dreams of a decontextualized account of international reality, some theorists of international relations are likely to do what some political scientists already have done: turn to disciplinary history in search of remedies against what they take to be a threatening disciplinary anarchy:
1 Dryzek, J. S. and Leonard, S. T., ‘History and Discipline in Political Science’, American Political Science Review, 82 (1988), pp. 1245–60, p. 1249CrossRefGoogle Scholar. These authors draw heavily upon ideas developed by Imre Lakatos and Alasdair Maclntyre. See Lakatos, I., The Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes (Cambridge, 1978)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Maclntyre, A., ‘Epistemological Crises, Dramatic Narratives, and the Philosophy of Science’, The Monist, 60 (1977), pp. 468–9.Google Scholar
3 See for example Bernstein's discussion of the different functions of history in Bernstein, R., The New Constellation: The Ethical-Political Horizons of Modernity/Postmodernity (Cambridge, 1991), ch. 1.Google Scholar See also Rorty, R., ‘The Historiography of Philosophy: Four Genres’, in Rorty, R., Schneewind, J. B. and Skinner, Q. (eds.), Philosophy in History (Cambridge, 1984), pp. 49–75;CrossRefGoogle ScholarGracia, J. J. E., Philosophy and Its History: Issues in Philosophical Historiography (New York, 1992).Google Scholar
4 For earlier comments, see Olson, W. and Onuf, N. G., ‘The Growth of a Discipline: Reviewed’, in Smith, S. (ed.), International Relations: British and American Perspectives (Oxford, 1985)Google Scholar; Jones, R. E., ‘The English School of International Relations: A Case for Closure’, Review of International Studies, 1 (1981), pp. 1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Berridge, G., ‘The Political and Institutional History of States-Systems’, British Journal of International Studies, 6 (1980), pp. 82–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Waever, O., ‘International Society—Theoretical Promises Unfulfilled?’, Cooperation and Conflict, 27 (1992), pp. 97–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
10 Bull, H. and Watson, A., The Expansion of International Society (Oxford, 1984), p. 1.Google Scholar
11 Bull, Anarchical Society, p. 46.
13 Hoffmann, ‘Hedley Bull’, p. 186.
14 Watson, A., The Evolution of International Society: A Comparative Historical Analysis (London, 1992), p. 14.Google Scholar
16 Cf. Buzan, B., ‘From International System to International Society: Structural Realism and Regime Theory Meet the English School’, International Organization, 41 (1993), pp. 327–52, pp. 343fCrossRefGoogle Scholar; see also Buzan, B., ‘The Idea of “International System”: Theory Meets History’, International Political Science Review, 15 (1994), pp. 231–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
17 Buzan, ‘From International System’, p. 332.
18 Cf. Buzan, B., ‘Rethinking System and Structure’, in Buzan, B., Jones, C. and Little, R., The Logic of Anarchy: Neorealism to Structural Realism (New York, 1993), pp. 20–80, p. 71Google Scholar, where he uses the concept ‘interaction capacity' to distinguish between international system and international society.
19 Buzan, ‘From International System’, p. 342.
21 Buzan, ‘Rethinking System’, p. 31.
22 Hollis, M. and Smith, S., Explaining and Understanding International Relations (Oxford, 1990), p. 211.Google Scholar
24 See for example Wendt, A., ‘The Agent-Structure Problem in International Relations Theory’, International Organization, 41 (1987), pp. 335–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Dessler, D., ‘What's at Stake in the Agent-Structure Debate?’, International Organization, 43 (1989), pp. 441–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
25 See for example Wendt, A., ‘Anarchy is What States Make of It: The Social Construction of Power Polities’, International Organization, 46 (1992), pp. 391–425CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Wendt, A., ‘Collective Identity Formation and The International State’, American Political Science Review, 88 (1994), pp. 384–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
28 For a well-known criticism of this view, see Skinner, Q., ‘Meaning and Understanding in the History of Ideas’, in Tully, J. (ed.), Meaning and Context: Quentin Skinner and his Critics (Cambridge, 1988), pp. 29–67.Google Scholar
31 Hobsbawm, E. J. and Ranger, T. (eds.), The Invention of Tradition (Cambridge, 1983), p. 13.Google Scholar
32 This way of denning the concept of tradition is consistent with Pocock's notion of languages as the basic units of investigation in the history of ideas. See Pocock, J. G. A., ‘The State of the Art’, in Pocock, J. G. A., Virtue, Commerce and History (Cambridge, 1985), pp. 1–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Pocock, J. G. A., ‘The Concept of Language and the métier d'historien: Some Considerations on Practice’, in Pagden, A. (ed.), The Languages of Political Theory in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge, 1987), pp. 19–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
33 Just to mention a few examples of this widespread practice: Dougherty, J. E. andPfaltzgraff, R. L., Contending Theories of International Relations (Philadelphia, PA, 1971), pp. 10f, 65fGoogle Scholar; Holsti, K. J., The Dividing Discipline: Hegemony and Diversity in International Theory (Boston, MA, 1985), ch. 1Google Scholar; Clark, I., The Hierarchy of States: Reform and Resistance in the International Order (Cambridge, 1989), chs. 1–4CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Gilpin, R., ‘The Richness of the Tradition of Political Realism’, in Keohane, R. O. (ed.), Neorealism and its Critics (New York, 1986), pp. 301–21Google Scholar; Forde, S., ‘International Realism and the Science of Politics: Thucydides, Machiavelli, and Neorealism’, International Studies Quarterly, 39 (1995), pp. 141–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
34 This practice is not confined to international relations theory, since the opposition between a Grotian tradition and a Hobbesian one has animated most textbook histories of international law, sometimes to the point of being their unquestioned foundation. Just to take a few examples: Brierly, J. L., The Law of Nations: An Introduction to the International Law of Peace (Oxford, 1942), pp. 20fGoogle Scholar; H. Lauterpacht, ‘The Grotian Tradition in International Law’, British Yearbook of International Law 1946; Visscher, C. de, Théories et réaltiés en droit international public (Paris, 1953), pp. 22–3, 27–8Google Scholar; Ipsen, K., Völkerrechl (Munich, 1990), pp. 19ff.Google Scholar
35 Wight, ‘Anatomy’, pp. 222f; Wight, M., International Theory: The Three Traditions (Leicester, 1991), pp. 30fGoogle Scholar; Bull, H., ‘Society and Anarchy in International Relations’, in Wight, M. and Butterfield, H. (eds.), Diplomatic Investigations (London, 1966), pp. 37fGoogle Scholar; Bull, Anarchical Society, pp. 24f.
36 My omission of the Revolutionist or Kantian tradition can be justified on three separate grounds. First, since the opposition between a Grotian tradition and a Hobbesian one seems to be more widely taken for granted in the literature, and since their respective founders were roughly contemporaneous, it deserves more critical attention. Second, I have treated Kant and interpretations of him extensively elsewhere. See for example ‘The Trial of Judgment: A Note on Kant and the Paradoxes of Internationalism’, International Studies Quarterly, 39 (1995), pp. 255–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Third, the interpretation of Kant to which theorists of international society conventionally have subscribed has been questioned to the extent that the question of whether there exists a Kantian tradition or not has become quite uninteresting. See Hurrell, A., ‘Kant and the Kantian Paradigm in International Relations’, Review of International Studies, 16 (1990), pp. 183–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar.
37 Wight, ‘Anatomy’, p. 226.
39 Bull, Anarchical Society, p. 24.
41 Bull, ‘Society and Anarchy’, p. 40.
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46 Wight, ‘Western Values’, p. 95.
48 Wight, ‘Anatomy’, p. 223.
49 Wight, ‘Western Values’, pp. 96–7.
52 Wight, International Theory, p. 39.
53 Bull, ‘Society and Anarchy’, p. 39.
54 Wight, International Theory, p. 39.
55 Bull, ‘Importance of Grotius’, p. 83.
57 Wight, International Theory, p. 37.
58 Bull, ‘Importance of Grotius’, pp. 84, 87.
61 Barbeyrac, J., ‘An Historical and Critical Account of the Science of Morality’, preface to S. von Pufendorf, The Law of Nature and Nations, tr. Kennet, B. (London, 1749).Google Scholar
62 Wight, International Theory, p. 38.
64 Tuck, Natural Rights Theories, pp. 50–7, 67, ch. 6; cf. Baumgold, D., Hobbes's Political Theory (Cambridge, 1988), p. 26.Google Scholar
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66 Grotius, H., De hire belli ac pads libri tres, tr. F. W. Kelsey (Oxford, 1925), p. 186.Google Scholar
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68 Tuck, Natural Rights Theories, p. 62.
70 Hobbes, Leviathan, p. 111.
72 A. Pizzorno, ‘On the Individualistic Theory of Social Order’, in Bourdieu, P. and Coleman, J. S. (eds.), Social Theory fora Changing Society (Boulder, CO, 1991), pp. 209–34Google Scholar, pp. 217–19.
74 To Grotius, the law of nature ‘can easily be brought into systematic form’, hence it is possible to treat matters of jurisprudence in the same fashion as ‘mathematicians treat their figures as abstracted from bodies' (Grotius, ‘Prolegomena’, De iure belli acpads, pp. 21, 30); Cf. Midgley, E. B. F., The Natural Law Tradition and International Relations (New York, 1975), p. 148Google Scholar; Toulmin, S., Cosmopolis: The Hidden Agenda of Modernity (Chicago, 1990), p. 76Google Scholar; Dupré, L., Passage to Modernity: An Essay in the Hermeneutics of Nature(New Haven, CT, 1993), pp. 126–34.Google Scholar To Hobbes, the ‘skill of making, and maintaining Common-wealths, consisteth in certain Rules, as doth Arithmetique and Geometry' (Hobbes, Leviathan, p. 145). Cf. Skinner, Q., ‘”Scientia Chilis” in Classical Rhetoric and in the Early Hobbes’, in Phillipson, N. and Skinner, Q. (eds.), Political Discourse in Early-Modern Britain (Cambridge, 1993), pp. 67–93Google Scholar; McNeilly, F. S., The Anatomy of Leviathan (London, 1968), p. 63.Google Scholar
75 B. Kingsbury and A. Roberts, ‘Introduction: Grotian Thought in International Relations’, pp. 51–64, in Bull et al. (eds.), Hugo Grolius, pp. 1–64.
76 Wight, International Theory, p. 37.
77 Tuck, Natural Rights Theories, p. 63.
78 See for example Knutsen, T. L., A History of International Relations Theory (Manchester, 1986), p. 86Google Scholar: ‘Grotius created a conception of international relations as political interaction in a society of states'.
79 H. Suganami, ‘A Note on the Origin of the Word “International”’, British Journal of International Studies, 4 (1978), pp. 226–32.
80 Cf. Knutsen, History of International Relations Theory, pp. 90f, who strangely reads into Leviathan the doctrine that the international anarchy emerged as a result of the establishment of states—a doctrine which had to await a Rousseau for its articulation.
85 Kennedy, D., ‘Primitive Legal Scholarship’, Harvard International Law Journal, 27 (1986), pp. 1–98Google Scholar, p. 90.
86 Cf.Forsyth, M., ‘The Tradition of International Law’, pp. 26Google Scholar, 37–8, in Nardin and Mapel (eds.), Traditions, pp. 23–41.
87 Kennedy, ‘Primitive Legal Scholarship’, p. 96.
89 Hobbes, Leviathan, ch. XIII, p. 90.
91 Vico, G., The New Science, tr. Bergin, T. G. and Fisch, M. H. (Ithaca, NY, 1968)Google Scholar, pp. 78fT.
93 See Berlin, I., Vico and Herder. Two Studies in the History of Ideas (London, 1976Google Scholar).
94 Cf. D. Faucci, ‘”L'Estimazione del giusto” selon Grotius et selon Vico’, Grotiana, 1 (1980).
95 See for example Meinecke, F., Machiavellism: The Doctrine of Raison d'Etat and its Place in Modern History, tr. Scott, D. (Boulder, CO and London, 1984Google Scholar), pp. 207ff.
96 See for example Iggers, G., The German Conception of History: The National Tradition of Historical Thought from Herder to the Present (Middletown, CT, 1968), pp. 63–174Google Scholar; Mommsen, W. J., ‘Ranke and the Neo-Rankean School in Imperial Germany’, in Iggers, G. G. and Powell, J. M. (eds), Leopold von Ranke and the Shaping of the Historical Discipline (Syracuse, NY, 1990), pp. 124–140.Google Scholar
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