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On the subject matter of international relations

Albert, Mathias and Buzan, Barry (2017) On the subject matter of international relations. Review of International Studies, 43 (05). pp. 898-917. ISSN 0260-2105

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Identification Number: 10.1017/S0260210517000262


This article deals with the subject matter of International Relations as an academic discipline. It addresses the issue of whether and how one or many realms could legitimately be claimed as the discipline’s prime subject. It first raises a number of problems associated with both identifying the subject matter of IR and ‘labelling’ the discipline in relation to competing terms and disciplines, followed by a discussion on whether, and to what degree, IR takes its identity from a confluence of disciplinary traditions or from a distinct methodology. It then outlines two possibilities that would lead to identifying IR as a discipline defined by a specific realm in distinction to other disciplines: (1) the ‘international’ as a specific realm of the social world, functionally differentiated from other realms; (2) IR as being about everything in the social world above a particular scale. The final section discusses the implications of these views for the study of International Relations.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2017 British International Studies Association
Divisions: International Relations
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Date Deposited: 23 Feb 2018 14:38
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2024 04:42

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