Causes of a Divided Discipline: Rethinking the Concept of Cause in International Relations theory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

During the last decades ‘causation’ has been a deeply divisive concept in International Relations (IR) theory. While the positivist mainstream has extolled the virtues of causal analysis, many post-positivist theorists have rejected the aims and methods of causal explanation in favour of ‘constitutive’ theorising. It is argued here that the debates on causation in IR have been misleading in that they have been premised on, and have helped to reify, a rather narrow empiricist understanding of causal analysis. It is suggested that in order to move IR theorising forward we need to deepen and broaden our understandings of the concept of cause. Thereby, we can radically reinterpret the causal-constitutive theory divide in IR, as well as redirect the study of world politics towards more constructive multi-causal and complexity-sensitive analyses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-216
Number of pages28
JournalReview of International Studies
Volume32
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2006

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Causes of a Divided Discipline: Rethinking the Concept of Cause in International Relations theory'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this