Beyond the Ivory Tower: International Relations Theory and the Issue of Policy Relevance

Beyond the Ivory Tower: International Relations Theory and the Issue of Policy Relevance


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Beyond the Ivory Tower: International Relations Theory and the Issue of Policy Relevance by Joseph Lepgold, Miroslav Nincic

The gap between academics and practitioners in international relations has widened in recent years, according to the authors of this book. Many international relations scholars no longer try to reach beyond the ivory tower and many policymakers disdain international relations scholarship as arcane and irrelevant. Joseph Lepgold and Miroslav Nincic demonstrate how good international relations theory can inform policy choices. Globalization, ethnic conflict, and ecological threats have created a new set of issues that challenge policymakers, and cutting-edge scholarship can contribute a great deal to the diagnosis and handling of potentially explosive situations.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231116596
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 11/15/2001
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Joseph Lepgold is associate professor of government at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and Miroslav Nincic is professor of political science at the University of California, Davis. They are coeditors of Being Useful: Policy Relevance and International Relations Theory.

Table of Contents

The Theory-Practice Gap in International Relations
Types of Knowledge and Their Practical Uses
How Knowledge is Acquired and Used
Scholarship and Relevance: Is There a Tradeoff?
The Inter-Democratic Peace? Theoretical Foundations andPolicy Implications
International Institutions and International Cooperation: Theoretical Foundations and Policy Implications
Useful Knowledge: Value, Promise, and Limitations Notes

What People are Saying About This

Andrew J. Nathan

Beyond the Ivory Tower can be read with equal profit by scholars who want to improve the scientific status of international relations theory and by those alarmed by IR's drift away from relevance. Lepgold and Nincic show that the effort to apply theory to policy helps enrich theory, by bringing out its hidden assumptions. They also make a strong ethical case that IR scholars should not abandon their field's honorable tradition of advising statesmen. In doing so, they provide an illuminating overview of the field and intriguing insights into the forces that shape its development.

Jack Snyder

Lepgold and Nincic show in detail how the academic study of international relations can contribute more powerfully to practical deliberations and debates. They make a compelling case that greater policy relevance can actually enhance the scientific value of scholarship. It is no coincidence that the founders of social science—Marx, Weber, and Durgakheim—were all deeply imbued with a belief in the practical significance of the academic enterprise.

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