Theory and History in International Relations

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9780415945363: Theory and History in International Relations

Theory and History in International Relations is an eloquent plea to scholars of global politics to turn away from the "manufacture" of data and return to a systematic study of history as a basic for theory. While the modest use of empiricism will always be important, Puchala rejects the logical positivism of the so-called "scientific revolution" in the field in favor of a more complex, even intuitive, vision of global politics. He addresses the potential uses of history in studying some of the major debates of our time-the Cold War as a struggle between empires, the collision of civilizations, cultural encounters and colonies in the ancient world, and liberal approaches to the understanding of history and ethical contributions to the dialogue over theory.

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About the Author:

Donald J. Puchala is the Charles L. Jacobson Professor of Public Affairs and Director of the Walker Institute for International Studies at the University of South Carolina. He has taught at Yale University, SUNY-Buffalo and at Columbia University. He also serves on the editorial boards of World Politics, Journal of International Affairs, International Organization and Global Governance.

Review:

Theory and History in International Relations is the most comprehensive treatise on international relations available today. The breadth and inclusiveness of the study is awesome...I recommend it with more enthusiasm than anything I've read since I returned to teaching 25 years ago. -- Kenneth W. Thompson, Director Emeritus, Miller Center and J. Wilson Newman Professor of Governance, University of Virginia
Puchala's self-conscious and candid assessment of his career-long search for patterns in international relations takes the reader on a rewarding journey through both the intellectual debates and substantive conflicts that mark the field. In contending that the field is an autonomous academic discipline, he ranges widely and wisely across the ways in which it has been shaped by history and theory, persuasively arguing that it is a field best grasped through an interpretive methodology. Both beginning students and old hands will surely benefit from his insights into a broad array of challenges with which the discipline and the world have wrestled. -- James N. Rosenau, University Professor of International Affairs, The George Washington University
In this fascinating and far-reaching book, Donald Puchala says that his main purpose is to use theory to find meaning in international history. This he does in deftly executed forays into a great many worlds, including some that are all but forgotten. And he does much more: he provides a much needed antidote to the reductionist parochialism that stunts theory and thwarts the study of international relations as a global undertaking. -- Nicholas Onuf, Professor of International Relations, Florida International University
Puchala offers us a brilliant guide to the joys, gains, and pitfalls involved in exploring the the very long history of global politics. As he demonstrates, understanding either change or continuity in the present-day world necessitates temporal comparison and the past can also stimulate our thinking about alternative futures. -- YaleH. Ferguson, Co-Director, Center for Global Change and Governance, and Professor of Political Science, Rutgers University
Puchala's self-conscious and candid assessment of his career-long search for patterns in international relations takes the reader on a rewarding journey through both the intellectual debates and substantive conflicts that mark the field. In contending that the field is an autonomous academic discipline, he ranges widely and wisely across the ways in which it has been shaped by history and theory, persuasively arguing that it is a field best grasped through an interpretive methodology. Both beginning students and old hands will surely benefit from his insights into a broad array of challenges with which the discipline and the world have wrestled. -- James N. Rosenau, University Professor of International Affairs, The George Washington University

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