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The English School: history and primary institutions as empirical IR theory?

Buzan, Barry and Lawson, George (2018) The English School: history and primary institutions as empirical IR theory? In: Thompson, v, (ed.) The Oxford Encyclopedia of Empirical International Relations Theory. Oxford University Press, New York, USA, pp. 783-799. ISBN 9780190632588

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This paper examines what space there is to think of English School work as part of Empirical International Relations (IR) theory. The English School depends heavily on historical accounts, and the chapter makes the case that history and theory should be seen as co-constitutive rather than as separate enterprises. Empirical IR theorists need to think about their own relationship to this question, and clarify what “historical sensitivity” means to them. The English School offers both distinctive taxonomies for understanding the structure of international society, and an empirically constructed historical approach to identifying the primary institutions that define international society. If Empirical IR is open to historical-interpretive accounts, then its links to the English School are in part strong, because English School structural accounts would qualify, and in part weak, because the normative theory part of the English School would not qualify. Lying behind this judgement is a deeper issue: if Empirical IR theory confines itself to regularity-deterministic causal accounts, then there can be no links to English School work. As such, this chapter demonstrates how taking English School insights seriously helps to open up a wider view of Empirical IR theory.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 Oxford University Press
Divisions: International Relations
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2018 10:53
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 23:33

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