Making Global Knowledge in Local Contexts: The Politics of International Relations and Policy Advice in Russia, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Making Global Knowledge in Local Contexts

The Politics of International Relations and Policy Advice in Russia, 1st Edition

By Katarzyna Kaczmarska


272 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780367186432
pub: 2020-04-27
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This book draws on extensive ethnographic research undertaken in Russia to show how the wider sociopolitical context – the political system, relationship between the state and academia as well as the contours of the public debate – shapes knowledge about international politics and influences scholars’ engagement with the policy world.

Combining an in-depth study of the International Relations discipline in Russia with a robust methodological framework, the book demonstrates that context not only bears on epistemic and disciplinary practices but also conditions scholars’ engagement with the wider public and policymakers. This original study lends robust sociological foundations to the debate about knowledge in International Relations and the social sciences more broadly. In particular, the book questions contemporary thinking about the relationship between knowledge and politics by situating the university within, rather than abstracting it from the political setting. The monograph benefits from a comprehensive engagement with Russian-language literature in the Sociology of Knowledge and critical reading of International Relations scholarship published in Russia.

This text will be of interest to scholars and students in International Relations, Russian and Post-Soviet Studies, the Sociology of Knowledge, Science and Technology Studies and Higher Education Studies. It will appeal to those researching the knowledge-policy nexus and knowledge production practices.


"How do we 'know' what we know about international politics? What social, political and institutional forces structure imaginations of the international - of policy practitioners or indeed of academics? This important book - the first detailed analysis of the politics of knowledge about the international in Russia - contributes to the important new literature in the social sciences and International Relations on the politics of knowledge production. Much is at stake: not only our understandings of Russian responses in international politics but also what imaginations of the international more generally 'do' for analysts, states or other interests. Also, crucially, questions of academic freedom and lack thereof, often ignored, are raised to our attention. This study will be an important reference point - and a point of provocation - for all analysts of Russia, International Relations and the Sociology of Knowledge." — Milja Kurki, Aberystwyth University, U.K

"The book is a very detailed and comprehensive analysis of the impact of political and institutional context on knowledge production using IR in Russia as a case study. I greatly appreciate the combination of familiarity with the voluminous literature, in-depth engagement with the complex realm of the Russian academia and evidence gathered from fieldwork and interviews. The book should be welcomed by scholars of Russian studies and Science and Technology Studies." — Vladimir Gel’man, Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki, Finland

Table of Contents


1. The elephant in the room: the sociopolitical context of IR knowledge-making

2. State–society relations

3. Contested heritage: Soviet IR and the turbulent transition

4. Epistemic practices

5. The uses of knowledge

6. Conclusions

About the Author

Katarzyna Kaczmarska is a lecturer in Politics and International Relations at the School of Social and Political Science, the University of Edinburgh, UK. Her work on International Relations theory, the sociology of IR knowledge and post-Soviet politics appeared in International Studies Review, Journal of International Relations and Development, International Relations and Problems of Post Communism. Before joining the University of Edinburgh, she was Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow in the Department of International Politics, Aberystwyth University (2016-19). She spent two years conducting fieldwork in Moscow and St Petersburg. In Russia, she was affiliated with St Petersburg State University. She obtained her PhD in 2015 from Aberystwyth University for research on the representations of international politics in Anglophone and Russian academic and policy discourses.

About the Series

Worlding Beyond the West

Historically, the International Relations (IR) discipline has established its boundaries, issues, and theories based upon Western experience and traditions of thought. This series explores the role of geocultural factors, institutions, and academic practices in creating the concepts, epistemologies, and methodologies through which IR knowledge is produced. This entails identifying alternatives for thinking about the "international" that are more in tune with local concerns and traditions outside the West. But it also implies provincializing Western IR and empirically studying the practice of producing IR knowledge at multiple sites within the so-called ‘West’.

We welcome book proposals in areas such as:

  • Critiques of Western-centric scholarship and policy-making.
  • The emergence of new theories and approaches from ‘the periphery’.
  • The challenges for the discipline at large in accommodating its post-Western phase, and the political and ethical dilemmas involved in this.
  • Concrete studies of the results of approaching issues and agendas in ‘the periphery’ with the tools offered by core thinking.
  • Work by scholars from the non-West about local, national, regional or global issues, reflecting on the importance of different perspectives and of geocultural epistemologies.
  • Studies of ‘travelling theory’ – how approaches, concepts and theories get modified, re-casted and translated in different contexts.
  • The meaning and evolution of major concepts in particular regions, such as security thinking, concepts of globalisation and power, understandings of ‘economy’ and ‘development’ or other key categories in particular regions.
  • The sociology of the discipline in different places – with a focus on a country, a region, on specific research communities/schools, subfields, or on specific institutions such as academic associations, journals, foundations or think tanks.
  • Empirical studies of epistemic practices and the conditions of knowledge production in different Western and non-Western locales and sites.
  • Studies of the interaction between different knowledge producers, such as processes of expertise or the dialogue between intellectuals, academics, bureaucrats and policy elites.

Series Editors: Arlene B. Tickner, Universidad del Rosario, Colombia, David Blaney, Macalester College, USA and Inanna Hamati-Ataya, University of Cambridge, UK

Founding Editor: Ole Wæver, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General