Global Intervention And International Relation

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Global Intervention and International Relation

Global Intervention and International Relation


Increasingly over the last decade calls have been heard for a fundamental "restructuring" of international relations theory (Cox, 1981; Ashley, 1987; Hoffman; 1987). Moreover, it has been argued that a key part of the movement "beyond international relations theory" - conventionally defined - is the recognition that: Theory is always for someone and for some purpose. There is no such thin g as theory in itself, divorced from a stand point in time and space (Cox, 198 1: 12 8). A restructured international relations theory which incorporates this recognition into the process of theorizing would, as a consequence, strive to be more reflective upon the process of theorizing itself: to become clearly aware of the perspective which gives rise to theorizing, and its relations to other perspectives (to achieve a perspective on perspectives) (Cox, 1981:128).

Traditional International Relations Framework

Traditionally, international relations has been lacking in the social sciences. This lack can be explained in terms of the predominance of the positivist approach to the study of society. Specifically, it is the positivist tenet o f "truth a s correspondence" - and its underlying assumption of the separation of subject and object - which has inhibited international relations. The tenet o f "truth as correspondence" has stood as one of the core tenets o f the positivist tradition throughout its history - from August Comte, to the Vienna Circle, to the contemporary reformulations of positivism offered by Karl Popper and, most recently. That is, positivism stipulates that theoretical explanations proper concern of the philosophy of science, and iii) his advocacy of tolerance of theoretical pluralism. Nonetheless, Lakatos' "sophisticated methodological falsificationism", like Popper's "methodological falsificationism" before it, continues to uphold the core tenets of the positivist logic of investigation: namely, i) value-freedom in scientific knowledge, ii) the methodological unity of science, and, most importantly in terms of the concerns of this paper, iii) the correspondence theory of truth will be true to the extent that they accurately reflect reality; to the extent that they correspond to the facts. This tenet, in turn, rests upon a particular assumption: that of the separation of subject and object, of observer and observed. In other words, the tenet of "truth as correspondence" assumes that through the proper application of research design and techniques, the researcher(s) can be "factored out", leaving behind a description of the world "as it truly is"(Pettit 2000 105-44). In short, the tenet of "truth as correspondence" is the expression of the goal of rendering science a "process without a subject". The consequence of this tenet and of this assumption is that a number of problematic issues are swept aside. In making the separation of subject and object a defining condition of science, the positivist approach ignores the active and vital role played by the community o f researchers in the production and validation of knowledge. It ignores the fact that the standards which define "reliable knowledge" are dependent upon their acceptance and application by a research ...
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