CALL FOR PAPERS ISA 2015 NEW ORLEANS
Pragmatism and Critique in International Relations
Pragmatist International Relations (IR) scholars claim to have an answer to disciplinary fragmentation. In line with Pierce’s Maxim that thought must always keep in mind its purpose and the purpose of the ideas it analyses, Pragmatism is centred on the location of all thought in its problematic situation. This turn to practice is claimed to allow the discipline of IR to transcend the positivist/postpositivist debate, returning IR to its ethical or normative vocation without embracing an antirealist ontology. The challenge of pragmatist IR is thus directed at both the ‘scientific’ and ‘critical’ wings of the discipline. Where a number of scholarly works have sought to illustrate the benefits of a pragmatic approach vis-à-vis positivism, further work is called for illuminating its relationship to the problem of critique in IR. This discussion is not an entirely new one, having been raised, for example, in Deconstruction and Pragmatism (1996), but an IR scholarship increasingly enamoured of the pragmatic turn has largely sidestepped close examination of key points of synergy and tension. This panel sets out to interrogate how pragmatism is linked to and distinguishes itself from critical, feminist, postcolonial and poststructuralist approaches, all of which make claim to a reflexive theoretical practice.
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