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Author of the Month: Stefano Guzzini

Power, Realism & Constructivism

Stefano Guzzini shares his future plans for new books and tells us a little bit more about his new book, Power, Realism & Constructivism

1. Congratulations on the publication of your book Power, Realism and Constructivism! Not your first with Routledge. What led you to writing it?

By combining my previous publications on different research areas, I can better show how they hang together. Realism was initially the reason to focus on power, before my understanding of power became the reason to leave realism behind. Inspired by sociological theories of domination, the analysis of power led me to reconstruct constructivism in a particular way, and then constructivism gave me better methodological tools to do conceptual analysis.

2. What makes your book of particular interest to students and scholars of international relations and social/political theory?

I guess the two most apparent features are my new general understanding of power as I sketch it in the first chapter and, as mentioned, the way the three main themes are interwoven. But I think there are at least two more features. First, the book combines the analysis of theories and their internal consistency with the analysis of theorists and their personal quests for coherence. For this, I have structured the three parts of the book in five chapters each, three discussing analytical issues, whereas the other two analyze particular theorists - of power (Luhmann and Bourdieu), realism (Gilpin and Strange) and constructivism (Wendt and Kratochwil). The focus on theorists is oftentimes more attractive or accessible to students for understanding individual research programs and their development. Second, using a central concept as the main organizing principle of much of the discussion is also an introduction into the increasingly neglected field of conceptual analysis which I believe to be fundamental for doing theory. Finally, the book ends with a chapter that discusses the role of theory in teaching IR.

3. Can you describe your book in one sentence?

The book shows how the analysis of power can be used to improve our understanding of IR theories and, more generally, of different modes of theorising in IR.

4. Can you tell us a little bit more about your other books with Routledge?

My first book Realism in International Relations and International Political Economy: the continuing story of a death foretold (1998) argues that realism is best understood as a theoretical tradition based on the continuously renewed endeavor to turn practical maxims of European diplomacy into a US social science. I establish the fundamental dilemmas that such attempts had and have to face - with no solution in sight. Two books are edited in honor of scholars. In Contemporary Security Studies and Copenhagen Peace Research (2004), Dietrich Jung and I brought together former members – but not only – of the now defunct Copenhagen Peace Research Institute to honor the late Håkan Wiberg, its director. Recently, Rethinking foreign policy (2013, co-edited with Fredrik Bynander) honours Walter Carlsnaes, my colleague in Uppsala and a leading figure in Foreign Policy Analysis in Europe. Finally, Anna Leander and I have been editing Constructivism and International Relations: Alexander Wendt and his critics (2006). The volume introduces into Wendt’s work, gives voice to his critics and features Wendt’s comprehensive answer and first turn towards quantum social theory.

5. Do you have plans for future books? What’s next in the pipeline for you?

These days, I have mostly tried to unclog the pipeline. Besides the two titles from 2013 mentioned so far, I published an anthology on Foreign Policy Analysis in five volumes (with Walter Carlsnaes, 2011), co-edited with Iver Neumann The Diffusion of Power in Global Governance: International Political Economy meets Foucault (2012) and brought a long-standing project to completion with the publication of The Return of Geopolitics in Europe? Social mechanisms and foreign policy identity crises (2012). One project in this research cycle is still out, a book that develops my general approach to Power and International Relations, as I delineate it in the first chapter of the featured book. I also started working on causal mechanisms and interpretivist process tracing and Anna Leander and I plan a book on interpretive methodology.

6. Have you read any Routledge books? If so, which is your favorite Routledge book at the moment?

I try to follow the New International Relations Series, but not only. Right now, Peter Katzenstein’s Trilogy on Civilizations in World Politics is on my desk.

Related Products

  1. Power, Realism and Constructivism

    By Stefano Guzzini

    Series: New International Relations

    Winner of the 2014 International Studies Association Theory Section Book Award Framed by a new and substantial introductory chapter, the book collects Stefano Guzzini’s research on power, realism and constructivism. It explores the diversity of different schools and their intrinsic tensions and...

    Published August 1st 2013 by Routledge

  2. Rethinking Foreign Policy

    Edited by Fredrik Bynander, Stefano Guzzini

    Series: Routledge Advances in International Relations and Global Politics

    This edited volume is a tribute to, and a debate with, the scholarship of Walter Carlsnaes and his contribution to the study of foreign policy in both its conceptualization and application. This book probes the theoretical boundaries of Foreign policy analysis, and questions orthodox...

    Published November 26th 2012 by Routledge

  3. Constructivism and International Relations

    Alexander Wendt and his critics

    Edited by Stefano Guzzini, Anna Leander

    Series: New International Relations

    This new book unites in one volume some of the most prominent critiques of Alexander Wendt's constructivist theory of international relations and includes the first comprehensive reply by Wendt. Partly reprints of benchmark articles, partly new original critiques, the critical chapters are...

    Published July 13th 2006 by Routledge

  4. Contemporary Security Analysis and Copenhagen Peace Research

    Edited by Stefano Guzzini, Dietrich Jung

    Series: New International Relations

    This book examines the development of peace research and explores its present challenges, focusing on the contribution made by the Copenhagen Peace Research Institute. The authors investigate how peace research relates to security studies and international relations, providing a comprehensive study...

    Published December 25th 2003 by Routledge

  5. Civilizations in World Politics

    Plural and Pluralist Perspectives

    Edited by Peter J. Katzenstein

    A highly original and readily accessible examination of the cultural dimension of international politics, this book provides a sophisticated and nuanced account of the relevance of cultural categories for the analysis of world politics. The book’s analytical focus is on plural and pluralist...

    Published August 24th 2009 by Routledge