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Berenskoetter, Felix (2018) 'Deep Theorizing in International Relations.' European Journal of International Relations, 24 (4). pp. 814-840.

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This paper starts from the observation that, at a time when the popularity of grand theory is in decline among IR scholars, they do not agree on what they mean by theory. In fact, the celebration of theoretical pluralism is accompanied by the relative absence of a serious conversation about what ‘theory’ is, could, or should be. Taking the view that we need such a conversation, this puts forward the notion of ‘deep theorizing’. Countering both the shallow theorizing of modern scholarship that conflates theory with scientific method, and the postmodern view that abstract narratives must be deconstructed and rejected, it offers a reading of the parameters along which substantial theorizing proceeds. Specifically, it suggests that ‘deep theorizing’ is the conceptual effort of explaining (inter)action by developing a reading of drives/basic motivations and the ontology of its carrier through an account of the human condition, that is, a particular account of how the subject (the political actor) is positioned in social space and time. The paper illustrates the plausibility of this meta-theoretical angle in a discussion of realist, liberal and postcolonial schools of thought.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Constitutive theory, foundational theory, liberalism, meta-theory, postcolonialism, realism
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Politics & International Studies
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > Department of Politics and International Studies
ISSN: 14603713
Copyright Statement: © The Author(s) 2017. This is the accepted manuscript of an article published by SAGE in European Journal of International Relations, avaialable online:
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2017 17:09

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