This thesis concerns the relationship between IR theory and time. More specifically, I scrutinise simultaneous and seemingly contradictory visions of Western Standard time, or clock time, and the problem of Time, understood as time’s natural propensity for bringing dissolution, discord, and death to human experience. I develop two primary wagers about these phenomena, and work through their implications to show how this ostensible contradiction results from tensions intrinsic to developing IR theories and recapitulates a venerable way of appraising time. The first wager is that all ‘time’ utterances result from symbolic representations of efforts to time various changes. In particular, a discursive emphasis on the problem of Time suggests that the timing activity being referred to is faltering or failing. The second wager is that narrative is a sort of timing activity integral to both retrospective understanding and lived experience. Narrative propounds a timing standard by which people orient themselves and act in the world, but is also itself the product of timing operations resulting in a temporal vision. After elaborating these wagers, I use them to examine the process of developing IR theories. First, I explicate IR as a narrative vocation by scrutinising disciplinary reactions to surprising change. Second, I address IR methodologies and find that various ways of reasoning use narratives to reduce time’s flow. Third, I unpack the narrative and temporal aspects of a variety of IR explanatory forms and show how each reconfigures the pitiable effects of time. Finally, I discuss how quantitative IR relies on narrative timing techniques to preserve symbolic connections to eternity in the face of temporal phenomena. These moves contextualise IR as a thoroughly narrative timing project whose viability hinges on its ability to placate, manage, or tame the problem of Time, which holds striking implications for IR as a social science.
|Date of Award||16 Dec 2013|
|Supervisor||Hidemi Suganami (Supervisor) & William Ward Bain (Supervisor)|
Reckoning Ruin: International Relations theorising and the problem of time
Hom, A. R. (Author). 16 Dec 2013
Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis › Doctor of Philosophy