Looking back to move forward: historicising the construction of disciplinary narratives in European Political Science and International Relations’

Date

2010-11

Advisors

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Publisher

European Political Science

Type

Article

Peer reviewed

Yes

Abstract

Politics and International Relations (IR) tend to be discussed as separate disciplines. Rather than emphasising their shared divisions and methodological differences, dominant narratives separate the two, but these narratives also serve to reinforce and legitimate (to slightly differing degrees) the dominance of American positivism. As such, it is argued that if we are to understand the contemporary state of both disciplines, it is useful to reflect on their historical development. The aim of this article is (briefly) to map critically the development of Politics and IR as disciplines that, while having differing historical beginnings, have developed as parallel rather than integrated disciplines facing similar internal epistemological, methodological and cultural divisions. It is noted, however, that their parallel development is uneven, with challenges to the mainstream coming far earlier in IR than Politics, and as such opening the way for much greater acceptance of the notion of methodological pluralism in contemporary IR (outside the US) than in the study of Politics. Further, it is argued that the writing of histories of the disciplines thus far have served to legitimate and reinforce dominant Western conceptions of IR and Politics both descriptively and normatively.

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Citation

Savigny, H. (2010) ‘Looking back to move forward: historicising the construction of disciplinary narratives in European Political Science and International Relations’ EPS Special Ruby Red Issue to Celebrate the ECPR’s 40th Birthday: ‘Forty Years of European Political Science’ 9 Special Issue (ppss99-110) eds. Luis Sousa, Martin Bull and Jonathon Moses. ppS99-S110

Rights

Research Institute

Media and Communication Research Centre (MCRC)