Why is the French International Relations (IR) discipline different from the transnational-American discipline? By analysing argument structures in research articles across time, this book shows how the discipline in France is caught between the American character of the discipline and the French state as regulator of legitimate forms of expression. Concretely, French research arguments are less explicit about what their propositions are and what academic discussions they draw on and add to than their transnational-American counterparts.
Based on a comparative case study of French and American IR research from 1950 to 2011, the book is a major contribution to the meta-IR literature on global, regional and national traditions of IR. The challenge to the French discipline of whether and how to position itself in relation to the evolving American discipline is in many ways exemplary for other non-American national IR disciplines, and the choices as well as the structural conditions underlying the French case are relevant to all non-Western disciplines.
The comparative analysis moreover reveals that the modern American discipline -- what is considered as recognisable social science -- takes shape only during the 1970s. The book thus offers new knowledge about the discipline's international development as such. Both case and methodology are interesting to larger audiences outside IR, in the history and sociology of social science, contrastive rhetoric, as well as French and cultural studies.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction 2. Theory: Legitimate Forms of Expression in French IR 3. Origins, Arguments and Less Lego: What French IR Looks Like 4. Shun the Blunt: Dissertational Patterns in French IR 5. Cartesian State Practice: Why the French Write like They Do 6. Conclusion: What the French Case Can Teach IR – Inside and Beyond the West
Henrik Breitenbauch is Senior Researcher at the Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
International Relations in France. Writing between discipline and state is definitely worth reading, mostly for the original approach the author develops when coupling the historical sociology of the sociogenesis of the state with a political sociology of the legitimate forms of expressions for the study of the formation of a particular domain of knowledge, namely IR in France.
- Philippe Bonditti, University of Kent
There is much of interest in this volume and much that can be learned. It is a peephole to the world of IRT in the ‘Other’ which little by little is being translated so that IRT will be less parochial and the better for it.
- AJR Groom, University of Kent