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Laffey, Mark and Weldes, Jutta (1997) 'Beyond Belief: Ideas and Symbolic Technologies in the Study of International Relations.' European Journal of International Relations, 3 (2). pp. 193-237.

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As presently constituted, the analysis of `ideas' is deficient in two key respects. First, despite presenting itself as an alternative to the dominant rationalist perspective on international relations and foreign policy, the turn to `ideas' represents only a minor modification of that tradition, rather than a serious challenge to it. Second, the retention of the rationalist framework has had problematical implications for how `ideas' are conceptualized. Although explicitly defined as shared beliefs, we argue that the metaphors structuring rationalist analyses lead them to conceptualize `ideas' as objects. As an alternative, we offer a constructivist account of ideas as `symbolic technologies' that enable the production of representations. This different metaphor enables us to address directly the difficulties for analysis stemming from a conception of ideas as objects. It also opens up for examination a range of empirical phenomena overlooked by rationalist analysts.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > Department of Politics and International Studies
ISSN: 13540661
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2007 13:39

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