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The poverty of Grand Theory

Brown, Chris ORCID: 0000-0003-3478-7246 (2013) The poverty of Grand Theory. European Journal of International Relations, 19 (3). pp. 483-497. ISSN 1354-0661

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Identification Number: 10.1177/1354066113494321


The editors of the special issue, in their call for papers for this special issue, expressed a degree of disquiet at the current state of International Relations theory, but the situation is both better and worse than they suggest. On the one hand, in some areas of the discipline, there has been real progress over the last decade. The producers of liberal and realist International Relations theory may not have the kind of standing in the social/human sciences as the 'Grand Theorists' identified by Quentin Skinner in his seminal mid-1980s' collection, but they have a great deal to say about how the world works, and the world would have been a better place over the last decade or so if more notice had been taken of what they did say. On the other hand, the range of late modern theorists who brought some of Skinner's Grand Theorists into the reckoning in the 1980s have, in the main, failed to deliver on the promises made in that decade. The state of International Relations theory in this neck of the woods is indeed a cause for concern; there is a pressing need for 'critical problem-solving' theory, that is, theory that relates directly to real-world problems but approaches them from the perspective of the underdog.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2013 The Authors
Divisions: International Relations
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2013 09:56
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2024 00:09

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