Causation in International Relations: Reclaiming Causal Analysis (Cambridge Studies in International Relations)

Causation in International Relations: Reclaiming Causal Analysis (Cambridge Studies in International Relations)

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Milja Kurki
Cambridge University Press, 2008-04-03
EAN 9780521882972, ISBN10: 0521882974

Hardcover, 370 pages, 22.8 x 22.5 x 15.2 cm

World political processes, such as wars and globalisation, are engendered by complex sets of causes and conditions. Although the idea of causation is fundamental to the field of International Relations, what the concept of cause means or entails has remained an unresolved and contested matter. In recent decades ferocious debates have surrounded the idea of causal analysis, some scholars even questioning the legitimacy of applying the notion of cause in the study of International Relations. This book suggests that underlying the debates on causation in the field of International Relations is a set of problematic assumptions (deterministic, mechanistic and empiricist) and that we should reclaim causal analysis from the dominant discourse of causation. Milja Kurki argues that reinterpreting the meaning, aims and methods of social scientific causal analysis opens up multi-causal and methodologically pluralist avenues for future International Relations scholarship.

'Cause is the central concept of any science, including human sciences. Yet, most IR scholars seem to assume that this is not the case, which explains in part the appalling state of the discipline. To paraphrase Kant, it is time to awaken IR scholars from their 'dogmatic slumber' by shifting the field of background discourse, as Kurki attempts to do here. Her brilliant book will no doubt make a huge contribution to the revival of cumulative research in world politics, peace and conflict studies and related fields.' Heikki Patomäki, University of Helsinki