Progress in International Relations Theory: Appraising the Field / Edition 1

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Overview

All academic disciplines periodically appraise their effectiveness, evaluating the progress of previous scholarship and judging which approaches are useful and which are not. Although no field could survive if it did nothing but appraise its progress, occasional appraisals are important and if done well can help advance the field.This book investigates how international relations theorists can better equip themselves to determine the state of scholarly work in their field. It takes as its starting point Imre Lakatos's influential theory of scientific change, and in particular his methodology of scientific research programs (MSRP). It uses MSRP to organize its analysis of major research programs over the last several decades and uses MSRP's criteria for theoretical progress to evaluate these programs. The contributors appraise the progress of institutional theory, varieties of realist and liberal theory, operational code analysis, and other research programs in international relations. Their analyses reveal the strengths and limits of
Lakatosian criteria and the need for metatheoretical metrics for evaluating scientific progress.

The MIT Press

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher

"A most impressive effort that should stimulate a rethinking of what is meant by
'scientific progress' in developing international relations theory." Alexander L. George, Graham H.
Stuart Professor of Political Science, Emeritus, Stanford University

The MIT Press

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Colin Elman is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the Maxwell
School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University. Previously he was Assistant and
Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Arizona State University. He is coeditor, with Miriam Fendius Elman, of Bridges and Boundaries: Historians, Political
Scientists, and the Study of International Relations
(MIT Press, 2001).

Miriam Fendius Elman is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the
Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University. Previously she was Assistant and Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Arizona State University. She is coeditor, with Colin Elman, of Bridges and Boundaries: Historians, Political Scientists,
and the Study of International Relations
(MIT Press, 2001).

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Table of Contents

Foreword: Thoughts about Assaying Theories
Acknowledgments
Ch. 1 Introduction: Appraising Progress in International Relations Theory 1
Ch. 2 Lessons from Lakatos 21
Ch. 3 Institutional Theory as a Research Program 71
Ch. 4 The Power Transition Research Program: A Lakatosian Analysis 109
Ch. 5 Liberal International Relations Theory: A Scientific Assessment 159
Ch. 6 A Lakatosian View of the Democratic Peace Research Program 205
Ch. 7 Operational Code Analysis as a Scientific Research Program: A Cautionary Tale 245
Ch. 8 Realism, Neoliberalism, and Cooperation: Understanding the Debate 277
Ch. 9 The Progressiveness of Neoclassical Realism 311
Ch. 10 "Is" and "Ought": Evaluating Empirical Aspects of Normative Research 349
Ch. 11 Explanation and Scientific Progress 381
Ch. 12 Measuring Intra-programmatic Progress 405
Ch. 13 Kuhn vs. Lakatos? The Case for Multiple Frames in Appraising IR Theory 419
Ch. 14 A Lakatosian Reading of Lakatos: What Can We Salvage from the Hard Core? 455
About the Contributors 495
Index 499
About the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
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