Interpreting International Politics: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Interpreting International Politics

1st Edition

By Cecelia Lynch


114 pages

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Paperback: 9780415896917
pub: 2013-12-18
Hardback: 9780415896900
pub: 2013-12-12
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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, 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

"The book provides the validation that comes with decades of interpretive interventions in IR, showing that there is a distinct interpretive tradition in IR. It empowers researchers to locate their own work in that tradition and to respond to those who remain skeptical of the legitimacy, rigor or purpose of interpretivism. Lynch’s clarion call should inspire scholars to continue the rich tradition of interpreting international politics."Deepa Prakash, International Journal of Feminist Politics

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

Praise for the Series

"All of the books in the series are a credit to the series editors -- it's really quite a remarkable body of work being built up, with a coherence and relevance and quality of scholarship rarely found so consistently across a series of this sort. I can't talk it up enough. Congratulations."

Nick Cheesman, Australian National University

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 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.

International Advisory Board

Mark Bevir, University of California, Berkeley

Pamela Brandwein, University of Michigan

Kevin Bruyneel, Babson College

Katherine Cramer, University of Wisconsin, Madison

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, University of Vienna

Jan Kubik, Rutgers University

Beate Littig, Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna

Joseph Lowndes, University of Oregon

Timothy W. 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 C. Schaffer, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Edward Schatz, University of Toronto

Ronald Schmidt, Sr., California State University, Long Beach (emeritus) and Davidson College

James C. Scott, Yale University

Samer Shehata, University of Oklahoma

Diane Singerman, American University

Joe Soss, University of Minnesota

Camilla Stivers, Cleveland State University (emerita)

John Van Maanen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Lisa Wedeen, University of Chicago

Jutta Weldes, Bristol University

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