Beyond geography and social structure: disciplinary sociologies of power in international relations

  • Kevin McMillan

Throughout their relatively brief history, studies examining the academic International Relations (IR) discipline have manifested an abiding concern with power and its uneven ‘distribution’. In this, of course, they mirror the object of their analysis. The same might also be said of the approach they typically use to study disciplinary power: as within IR theory itself, studies of the IR discipline have primarily identified and assessed power in geographical and territorial terms. There are two principal (and often overlapping) variants of this approach: the first, and most familiar, is national (state-centric); the second, increasingly popular, is imperial (world-systemic).

Since the seminal work of Stanley Hoffmann (1977), for example, it has been a truism of IR disciplinary studies that their object is a distinctly ‘American social science’. Though this brisk caption might be understood in various ways, it has been generally held to imply that the global discipline is dominated by...


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin McMillan
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Political Studies, University of OttawaOntarioCanada

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