Interpreting International Politics (Paperback) book cover

Interpreting International Politics

By Cecelia Lynch

© 2014 – Routledge

114 pages

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Paperback: 9780415896917
pub: 2013-12-18
Hardback: 9780415896900
pub: 2013-12-12
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pub: 2013-12-04
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About the Book

Interpreting International Politics addresses each of the major, "traditional" subfields in International Relations: International Law and Organization, International Security, and International Political Economy. But how are interpretivist methods and concerns brought to bear on these topics? In this slim volume Cecelia Lynch focuses on the philosophy of science and conceptual issues that make work in international relations distinctly interpretive. This work both legitimizes and demonstrates the necessity of post- and non-positivist scholarship.

Interpretive approaches to the study of international relations span not only the traditional areas of security, international political economy, and international law and organizations, but also emerging and newer areas such as gender, race, religion, secularism, and continuing issues of globalization. By situating, describing, and analyzing major interpretive works in each of these fields, the book draws out the critical research challenges that are posed by and the progress that is made by interpretive work. Furthermore, the book also pushes forward interpretive insights to areas that have entered the IR radar screen more recently, including race and religion, demonstrating how work in these areas can inform all subfields of the discipline and suggesting paths for future research.


"A major triumph—and an essential text. Lynch not only demystifies interpretivism and illuminates its longstanding presence in IR and contributions across the discipline’s subfields, but also presents original–and urgently needed–work on race and religion in international politics. The text’s exceptional clarity and accessibility will please students, facilitate teaching, and impress scholars; hence, a welcome and timely addition to IR."

—V. Spike Peterson, The University of Arizona

"This impressive book comprehensively surveys the contribution interpretive scholarship has made to the discipline of International Relations. Furthermore, it critically evaluates how a range of interpretivist concerns have been pushing forward the boundaries of our theoretical, conceptual, and empirical knowledge across a range of IR's established and emerging subfields."

—Oliver Daddow, University of Leicester

"In Interpreting International Politics, Cecelia Lynch compellingly illustrates the intellectual and political importance of interpretivism in all areas of International Relations (IR) while documenting both the longstanding and the contemporary achievements of interpretivist IR. This excellent volume is a ‘must read’ both for those teaching and studying interpretivist IR and for those conducting interpretivist IR research."

—Jutta Weldes, University of Bristol

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Interpretive Concepts, Goals and Processes in International Relations 2. Interpreting International Security 3. Interpreting International Political Economy 4. Interpreting International Organization and Law 5. Race, Religion, Histories and Futures of International Relations. Concluding Thoughts: Politics and Engagement in International Relations.

About the Author

Cecelia Lynch is a professor in the department of political science at the University of California, Irvine. She is one of the original members of the "Methods Cafes" at the American Political Science Association, a forum for discussing interpretive methodologies and acted as a faculty mentor at the NSF-funded Interpretive Methods and Methodologies workshop. Lynch is the author of the award-winning book, Beyond Appeasement: Interpreting Interwar Peace Movements in World Politics, and co-editor of Law and Moral Action in World Politics and On Rules, Politics and Knowledge: Friedrich Kratochwil, International Relations, and Domestic Affairs.

About the Series

Routledge Series on Interpretive Methods

Series Editors: Dvora Yanow, Peregrine Schwartz-Shea

The Routledge Series on Interpretive Methods comprises a collection of slim volumes, each devoted to different issues in interpretive methodology and its associated methods. The topics covered will establish the methodological grounding for interpretive approaches in ways that distinguish interpretive methods from quantitative and qualitative methods in the positivist tradition. The series as a whole engages three types of concerns: 1) methodological issues, looking at key concepts and processes; 2) approaches and methods, looking at how interpretive methodologies are manifested in different forms of research; and 3) disciplinary and subfield areas, demonstrating how interpretive methods figure in different fields across the social sciences.

Approachable yet authoritative, the volumes are especially useful for graduate students looking for sources that lay out the reasoning and terminology of interpretive methodologies. Academic and independent researchers writing research plans for grant applications or research sabbaticals can use these volumes to support the systematic procedural character and rigorous argumentation of interpretive research. Instructors teaching research methods courses will find the books valuable in providing an explanation of the differences between interpretive research methods and those of "traditional" positivist research. These may also be useful volumes for journal editors and reviewers of manuscripts who are not familiar with these differences.

Interpretive Research Design: Concepts and Processes

Peregrine Schwartz-Shea and Dvora Yanow

Interpreting International Politics

Cecelia Lynch

Ethnography and Interpretation

Timothy Pachirat

Analyzing Social Narratives

Shaul R. Shenhav

Elucidating Social Science Concepts: An Interpretivist Guide

Frederic Charles Schaffer

Interviewing in Social Science Research: A Relational Approach

Lee Ann Fujii

International Advisory Board

Michael Agar, Emeritus, University of Maryland College Park and Ethknoworks LLC, Sante Fe, NM
Mark Bevir, University of California, Berkeley
Pamela Brandwein, University of Michigan
Kevin Bruyneel, Babson College
Douglas C. Dow, University of Texas, Dallas
Vincent Dubois, University of Strasbourg
Raymond Duvall, University of Minnesota
Martha S. Feldman, University of California, Irvine
Lene Hansen, University of Copenhagen
Victoria Hattam, The New School
Emily Hauptmann, Western Michigan University
Markus Haverland, Erasmus University, Rotterdam
David Howarth, University of Essex
Patrick Thaddeus Jackson, American University
Timothy Kaufman-Osborn, Whitman College
Bernhard Kittel, Oldenburg University
Jan Kubik, Rutgers University
Beate Littig, Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna
Joseph Lowndes, University of Oregon
Timothy Luke, Virginia Tech
Cecelia Lynch, University of California, Irvine
Navdeep Mathur, India Institute of Management
Julie Novkov, State University of New York at Albany
Ido Oren, University of Florida
Ellen Pader, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Frederic Charles Schaffer, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Edward Schatz, University of Toronto
Ronald Schmidt, Sr., California State University, Long Beach
James C. Scott, Yale University
Samer Shehata, Georgetown University
Diane Singerman, American University
Joe Soss, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Camilla Stivers, Cleveland State University
John Van Maanen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Katherine Cramer Walsh, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Lisa Wedeen, University of Chicago
Jutta E. Weldes, Bristol University

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