Reflectivity, Reflexivity, Reflexivism: IR's 'Reflexive Turn' - and Beyond

Inanna Hamati-Ataya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Citations (SciVal)
667 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The notion of ‘reflexivity’ has been so intimately tied to the critique of positivism and empiricism in International Relations (IR) that the emergence of post-positivism has naturally produced the anticipation of a ‘reflexive turn’ in IR theory. Three decades after the launch of the post-positivist critique, however, reflexive IR has failed to impose itself as either a clear or serious contender to mainstream scholarship. Reasons for this failure include: the proliferation of different understandings of ‘reflexivity’ in IR theory that entail significantly different projects and concerns for IR scholarship; the equation of ‘reflexive theory’ with ‘critical’ and ‘emancipatory theory’ and the consequent confusion of ethical/normative issues with strictly epistemic/theoretical ones; and the refusal to consider reflexive IR as a ‘research programme’ concerned with empirical knowledge, not just meta-explanation. The development of reflexivity in IR theory as a sustainable cognitive and praxeological effort is nonetheless possible — and still needed. This article suggests what taking the ‘reflexive turn’ would really entail for IR.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)669-694
JournalEuropean Journal of International Relations
Volume19
Issue number4
Early online date30 May 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013

Keywords

  • constructivism
  • critical theory
  • epistemology
  • interdisciplinarity
  • reflexivism
  • reflexitivity
  • vales

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Reflectivity, Reflexivity, Reflexivism: IR's 'Reflexive Turn' - and Beyond'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this