Knowledges

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Scientific knowledge in international relations has generally focused on an epistemological distinction between rationalism and reflectivism over the last 25 years. This chapter argues that this distinction has created a double distinction between theory/reality and theory/practice, which works as a ghost distinction structuring IR research. While reflectivist studies have emphasised the impossibility of detached, objective knowledge production through a dissolution of the theory/reality distinction, the theory/practice distinction has been left largely untouched by both rationalism and reflectivism. Bourdieu, on the contrary, lets the challenge to the theory/reality distinction spill over into a challenge to the theory/practice distinction by thrusting the scientist in the foreground as not just a factor (discourse/genre) but as an actor. In this way, studies of IR need to include a focus on the interrelationship between theory and practice in specific domains, while at the same time foregrounding the own position of the researcher. The transformation of European security in the 1990s is taken as an example of how an IR analysis changes focus when seeing knowledge as Bourdieu.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBourdieu in International Relations : Rethinking key concepts in IR
EditorsRebecca Adler-Nissen
Place of PublicationAbingdon
PublisherRoutledge
Publication date2012
Pages59-77
Chapter3
ISBN (Print)9780415528528
ISBN (Electronic)9780203102282
Publication statusPublished - 2012
SeriesNew International Relations

ID: 33742399