Critical Theory and the Inter-paradigm Debate
International Relations as an academic discipline is at a major crossroads. Since it was first constituted as an academic discipline in the immediate aftermath of the First World War, International Relations has moved through a series of ‘debates’ with the result that in the course of its development, and as a consequence of these debates, International Relations theory has been undergoing constant change and modification. After moving through the debate between Idealism and Realism in the inter–war period, between Realism and Behaviouralism in the Great Debate of the 1960s, through to the complementary impact of Kuhn’s development of the idea of ‘paradigms’ and the post-Behavioural revolution of the early 1970s and on to the rise of International Political Economy and neo-Marxist, Structuralist dependency theory in the late 1970s and early 1980s, International Relations has arrived at a point that Banks has termed the ‘inter-paradigm debate’.1 The effect of this evolutionary process is contradictory. On the one hand, it makes the discipline exciting and alive because of the diversity of approaches, issues and questions within it, creating opportunities for research which would previously have been deemed to be outside the boundaries of the discipline. On the other hand, the lack of an agreed core to the subject has lead to confusion and a degree of intellectual insecurity.
KeywordsInternational Relation Political Theory Critical Theory Traditional Theory World Order
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NOTES AND REFERENCES
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