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International relations as a social science

Neumann, Iver B. (2014) International relations as a social science. Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 43 (1). pp. 330-350. ISSN 0305-8298

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Identification Number: 10.1177/0305829814539860


In this written version of his inaugural lecture for the Montague Burton chair in IR at the LSE, Iver Neumann takes stock of International Relations understood as a social science. Having paid homage to predecessors, in the first part of the lecture, he detects and regrets a certain unwillingness within the discipline to address the full universe of pertinent cases. Inspecting the toolbox of the discipline, he finds things to be satisfactory where data collection, theory and meta-theory are concerned, but traces a glaring lack of attention to data collection method among qualitative (as opposed to quantitative) scholars. In the lecture’s second part, Neumann draws on Marcel Mauss’s idea that human agency draws on a constellation of social, psychological and physiological sources and on Emile Durkheim’s insistence that a social science has to privilege social sources of agency, without neglecting sources of other kinds. A nutshell review of relevant trends within psychology and evolutionary biology highlights work that competes with the discipline’s own. While insisting, with Durkheim, on the need to privilege social causes, Neumann calls for more work that explores the possible compatibility of new findings within these non-social disciplines and International Relations.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 Sage
Divisions: International Relations
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
Date Deposited: 15 Apr 2016 09:18
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:13

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