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Sociology and international relations: legacies and prospects

Lawson, George and Shilliam, Robbie (2010) Sociology and international relations: legacies and prospects. Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 23 (1). pp. 69-86. ISSN 0955-7571

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While sociological concepts have often been implicitly used in International Relations (IR), recent years have seen a more explicit engagement between IR and Sociology. As with any such interdisciplinary assignation, there are both possibilities and challenges contained within this move: possibilities in terms of reducing IR's intellectual autism and opening the discipline towards potentially fertile terrain that was never, actually, that distant; challenges in that interdisciplinary raiding parties can often serve as pseudonyms for cannibalism, shallowness and dilettantism. This forum reviews the sociological turn in IR and interrogates it from a novel vantage point—how sociologists themselves approach IR concepts, debates and issues. Three sociological approaches—classical social theory, historical sociology and Foucauldian analysis—are critically deployed to illuminate IR concerns. In this way, the forum offers the possibility of (re)establishing exchanges between the two disciplines premised on a firmer grasp of social theory itself. The result is a potentially more fruitful sociological turn, one with significant benefits for IR as a whole.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2010 Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Sets: Research centres and groups > LSE IDEAS
Departments > International Relations
Identification Number: UT ISI:000276839100005
Date Deposited: 09 May 2010 17:00

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