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  • Author or Editor: Gunther Hellmann x
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In this chapter, Gunther Hellmann reconstructs Kratochwil’s understanding of theorizing in a tradition of linguistic turn-inspired critical reflection of praxis, which emphasizes the inherent contingency and radical openness of social action. He sides with what he redescribes, in a Rortyan vocabulary, as Kratochwil’s anti-representationalist attack on typical practices of IR theorizing which range over a broad spectrum from Waltz, Keohane and Wendt all the way to contemporary forms of theorizing in the wake of the ‘practice turn’. Instead of authorizing (presumably ‘ontologically real’) things in ‘the world out there’ to ‘make’ our theories true – irrespective of whether these ‘really real’ things come in the form of ‘pictures of reality’, ‘empirical data’ or ‘quantum minds’ – Hellmann argues that we should side with Wittgenstein’s, Rorty’s and Kratochwil’s emphasis on the inherent contingency of our currently used, presumably ‘final’, vocabulary.

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This collection brings together leading figures in the study of international relations to explore praxis as a perspective on international politics and law. With its focus on competent judgments, the praxis approach holds the promise to overcome the divide between knowing and acting that marks positivist international relations theory.

Building on the transdisciplinary work of Friedrich Kratochwil – and with a concluding chapter from him – this book reveals the scope, limits and blind spots of praxis theorizing.

For anyone involved in international politics, this is an important contribution to the reconciliation of theory and practice and an inspiration for future research.

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This introductory chapter gives an overview of the book, clarifies the guiding concept of praxis and explains how the sections and chapters relate to each other. It maps current debates in IR theory and locates the praxis perspective within them. It distinguishes the praxis approach from ‘theorizing’ as conventionally understood in the social sciences, pointing out that praxis needs to be understood as ‘social action here and now’, historically situated and highly context-dependent. It also places Kratochwil’s praxis approach in the context of various strands of practice theory that have made inroads into IR in recent years. The second part of the introduction gives a preview of the chapters that follow. It explains why the book is divided into five parts and shows how the chapters relate to each other.

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This book explores praxis as a perspective on international politics. As the great debates of International Relations (IR) theory have petered out, praxis promises to become one of the most productive approaches in the field, not least because it has a unique potential to bridge the widening gulf between academic research and practitioners’ concerns. However, while there has been a flurry of publications on ‘practice theory’ in recent years, the concept of praxis has received less attention. To fill this gap, this volume provides a critical in-depth discussion of the praxis approach, with Friedrich Kratochwil’s book Praxis: On Acting and Knowing (2018) as a focal point. From this vantage point, scholars from IR and law critically discuss the potentials and limits of praxis theorizing. Part I of the book explores what a praxis approach to international affairs implies and how it might enable us to see and engage with phenomena that conventional IR theory tends to disregard. Part II is focused on law as a central institution and practice of international relations. Part III puts the praxis approach in conversation with other disciplinary perspectives, from biology and psychology to sociology and history. Part IV zooms in on one key aspect of praxis theorizing, the notion that theory-building is an intervention into the social world. In a concluding chapter, Friedrich Kratochwil responds to many of the ideas and criticisms formulated by the contributors.

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This book explores praxis as a perspective on international politics. As the great debates of International Relations (IR) theory have petered out, praxis promises to become one of the most productive approaches in the field, not least because it has a unique potential to bridge the widening gulf between academic research and practitioners’ concerns. However, while there has been a flurry of publications on ‘practice theory’ in recent years, the concept of praxis has received less attention. To fill this gap, this volume provides a critical in-depth discussion of the praxis approach, with Friedrich Kratochwil’s book Praxis: On Acting and Knowing (2018) as a focal point. From this vantage point, scholars from IR and law critically discuss the potentials and limits of praxis theorizing. Part I of the book explores what a praxis approach to international affairs implies and how it might enable us to see and engage with phenomena that conventional IR theory tends to disregard. Part II is focused on law as a central institution and practice of international relations. Part III puts the praxis approach in conversation with other disciplinary perspectives, from biology and psychology to sociology and history. Part IV zooms in on one key aspect of praxis theorizing, the notion that theory-building is an intervention into the social world. In a concluding chapter, Friedrich Kratochwil responds to many of the ideas and criticisms formulated by the contributors.

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This book explores praxis as a perspective on international politics. As the great debates of International Relations (IR) theory have petered out, praxis promises to become one of the most productive approaches in the field, not least because it has a unique potential to bridge the widening gulf between academic research and practitioners’ concerns. However, while there has been a flurry of publications on ‘practice theory’ in recent years, the concept of praxis has received less attention. To fill this gap, this volume provides a critical in-depth discussion of the praxis approach, with Friedrich Kratochwil’s book Praxis: On Acting and Knowing (2018) as a focal point. From this vantage point, scholars from IR and law critically discuss the potentials and limits of praxis theorizing. Part I of the book explores what a praxis approach to international affairs implies and how it might enable us to see and engage with phenomena that conventional IR theory tends to disregard. Part II is focused on law as a central institution and practice of international relations. Part III puts the praxis approach in conversation with other disciplinary perspectives, from biology and psychology to sociology and history. Part IV zooms in on one key aspect of praxis theorizing, the notion that theory-building is an intervention into the social world. In a concluding chapter, Friedrich Kratochwil responds to many of the ideas and criticisms formulated by the contributors.

Restricted access

This book explores praxis as a perspective on international politics. As the great debates of International Relations (IR) theory have petered out, praxis promises to become one of the most productive approaches in the field, not least because it has a unique potential to bridge the widening gulf between academic research and practitioners’ concerns. However, while there has been a flurry of publications on ‘practice theory’ in recent years, the concept of praxis has received less attention. To fill this gap, this volume provides a critical in-depth discussion of the praxis approach, with Friedrich Kratochwil’s book Praxis: On Acting and Knowing (2018) as a focal point. From this vantage point, scholars from IR and law critically discuss the potentials and limits of praxis theorizing. Part I of the book explores what a praxis approach to international affairs implies and how it might enable us to see and engage with phenomena that conventional IR theory tends to disregard. Part II is focused on law as a central institution and practice of international relations. Part III puts the praxis approach in conversation with other disciplinary perspectives, from biology and psychology to sociology and history. Part IV zooms in on one key aspect of praxis theorizing, the notion that theory-building is an intervention into the social world. In a concluding chapter, Friedrich Kratochwil responds to many of the ideas and criticisms formulated by the contributors.

Restricted access

This book explores praxis as a perspective on international politics. As the great debates of International Relations (IR) theory have petered out, praxis promises to become one of the most productive approaches in the field, not least because it has a unique potential to bridge the widening gulf between academic research and practitioners’ concerns. However, while there has been a flurry of publications on ‘practice theory’ in recent years, the concept of praxis has received less attention. To fill this gap, this volume provides a critical in-depth discussion of the praxis approach, with Friedrich Kratochwil’s book Praxis: On Acting and Knowing (2018) as a focal point. From this vantage point, scholars from IR and law critically discuss the potentials and limits of praxis theorizing. Part I of the book explores what a praxis approach to international affairs implies and how it might enable us to see and engage with phenomena that conventional IR theory tends to disregard. Part II is focused on law as a central institution and practice of international relations. Part III puts the praxis approach in conversation with other disciplinary perspectives, from biology and psychology to sociology and history. Part IV zooms in on one key aspect of praxis theorizing, the notion that theory-building is an intervention into the social world. In a concluding chapter, Friedrich Kratochwil responds to many of the ideas and criticisms formulated by the contributors.

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