1st Edition

The Rhetoric of Inquiry in International Relations
A Hermeneutic Investigation into the Forms of Argumentation in International Relations Meta-Theory

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after November 5, 2021
ISBN 9780367703974
November 5, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
232 Pages

USD $155.00

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Book Description

This book argues that our current lack of recognising and understanding the different forms meta-theorising takes, hampers the ways in which fruitful engagement between meta-theories can be conducted.

It proposes a radical break with the ways in which meta-theorising in International Relations (IR) has so far been understood, and instead suggests a dyadic approach: a rhetoric of inquiry that investigates the diverging forms of argumentation currently present in IR meta-theorising and a conversational ethic that can help steer meta-theoretical engagements across existing divides in more productive ways. The central questions are where meta-theorising should go from here in order to contribute to the analysis of an ever more complex world? Can we develop ways that allow the practice of meta-theorising to channel and consolidate the multiplicity of its debates and contentions to strengthen our understanding of world politics, and if so, how?

It will be of general interest in all theory and methodology courses offered at undergraduate and postgraduate levels as well as to academics working in the area of metatheory, international political thought, normative theory as well as IR theory in its various manifestations.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 – Three Images of Meta-Theory in International Relations: Reflexive Engagement, Scholasticism, and Paradigmatism

Chapter 2 – Rhetoric of Inquiry: On the Relation Between Form and Content in IR Meta-Theory

Chapter 3 – Logics of Argumentation: Monism, Pluralism, Displacement and Diversity

Chapter 4 – Styles of Argumentation: Dogmatism, Pragmatics, Deconstruction and Hermeneutics

Chapter 5 – Meta-Theorising and Competing Conceptions Of ‘The Real’

Chapter 6 – understanding and the ethos of conversation


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Torsten Michel is a Senior Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Bristol. His main research interests lie in IR (meta-)theory, particularly focussing on the role and nature of ontology, rhetoric and translation in (meta-)theoretical debates. He has published widely in leading journals including the Review of International Studies and the European Journal of International Relations and authored a number of book chapters on various aspects of meta-theoretical practice in International Relations.