Theoretical Synthesis in IR: Possibilities and Limits (SWP 6)

Resource type
Date created
2010
Authors/Contributors
Abstract
This is a draft chapter for Sage Handbook of International Relations, 2nd Edition, which offers a critical assessment of bridge building and pluralism in contemporary international-relations (IR) theory. I begin by placing recent moves towards theoretical synthesis in context, asking why one saw an upsurge of interest in bridge-building only beginning in the mid-1990s. Then I assess these efforts in three areas – international institutions, normative theory, and studies of civil war – in each case, detailing how and to what extent theoretical pluralism has come to define a particular subfield. I argue that contemporary IR does look different, and better, thanks to synthesis and bridge building. In conclusion I note two challenges – theoretical cumulation and meta-theory. These, I argue, should be at the heart of a reinvigorated research program on synthesis, one where theory is taken seriously and epistemological divides are transgressed.
Document
Description
Jeffery T. Checkel homepage: http://www.sfu.ca/internationalstudies/checkel.html
Identifier
ISSN 1922-5725
Published as
Final version of this paper was published as Theoretical Pluralism in IR: Possibilities and Limits (Chapter 9. 220 - 242) in Sage Handbook of International Relations, 2nd Edition, 2013. Checkel, Jeffrey T., Theoretical Synthesis in IR: Possibilities and Limits, Simons Papers in Security and Development, No. 6/2010, School for International Studies, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, September 2010.
Publication title
Sage Handbook of International Relations, 2nd Edition
Document title
Theoretical Synthesis in IR: Possibilities and Limits
Publisher
School for International Studies, Simon Fraser University
Date
2010
First page
220
Last page
242
Copyright statement
Copyright is held by the author(s).
Scholarly level
Peer reviewed?
Yes
Language
Attachment Size
SimonsWorkingPaper6.pdf 319.89 KB