The concept of agency in international relations is an interesting one that I think might hold clues as to how we might look at international politics and conflict in the future. The good folks at e-IR, which is a great source for interesting and emerging thought, published my essay on agency and international relations. Check it out at: http://www.e-ir.info/2012/08/28/agency-and-international-relations-an-alternative-lens/
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Hans J. Morgenthau defines realism in terms of principles. Those principles are the framework through which he attempts to makes sense of international relations. They are his theory. Theory, he says, “must be judged…by its purpose: to bring order and meaning to a mass of phenomena that without it would remain disconnected and unintelligible.” In that sense, theory is a framework with which to examine the unknown with the known. One might wonder if theory informs practice. Kant suggests it does. The following three examples, a practical, a particular, and a philosophical, demonstrate how theory does influence practice. Edgar Schein’s change model shows how organizations progress. A particular illustration demonstrates how the lack of a theory prevents progress when uncertainty strikes. Machiavelli shows how, philosophically, uncertainty necessitates practical theoretical principles.