Interpreting International Politics
Routledge – 2013 – 114 pages
Interpretive approaches to the study of international relations span not only the traditional areas of security, international political economy, and international law and organizations, but also emerging and newer areas such as gender, race, religion, secularism, and continuing issues of globalization. But how are we to bring interpretivist methods and concerns to bear on these topics? Cecelia Lynch focuses on the philosophy of science and conceptual issues that make work in international relations distinctly interpretive. This work both legitimizes and demonstrates the necessity of post- and non-positivist scholarship.
Lynch address each of the major, "traditional" subfields in International Relations, including International Law and Organization, International Security, and International Political Economy. By situating, describing, and analyzing major interpretive works in each of these fields, the book draws out the critical research challenges that are posed by and the progress that is made by interpretive work. Furthermore, the book also pushes forward interpretive insights to areas that have entered the IR radar screen more recently, including race and religion, demonstrating how work in these areas can inform all subfields of the discipline and suggesting paths for future research.
"A major triumph—and an essential text. Lynch not only demystifies interpretivism and illuminates its longstanding presence in IR and contributions across the discipline’s subfields, but also presents original–and urgently needed–work on race and religion in international politics. The text’s exceptional clarity and accessibility will please students, facilitate teaching, and impress scholars; hence, a welcome and timely addition to IR."
—V. Spike Peterson, The University of Arizona
"This impressive book comprehensively surveys the contribution interpretive scholarship has made to the discipline of International Relations. Furthermore, it critically evaluates how a range of interpretivist concerns have been pushing forward the boundaries of our theoretical, conceptual, and empirical knowledge across a range of IR's established and emerging subfields."
—Oliver Daddow, University of Leicester
"In Interpreting International Politics, Cecelia Lynch compellingly illustrates the intellectual and political importance of interpretivism in all areas of International Relations (IR) while documenting both the longstanding and the contemporary achievements of interpretivist IR. This excellent volume is a ‘must read’ both for those teaching and studying interpretivist IR and for those conducting interpretivist IR research."
—Jutta Weldes, University of Bristol
Introduction 1. Interpretive Concepts, Goals and Processes in International Relations 2. Interpreting International Security 3. Interpreting International Political Economy 4. Interpreting International Organization and Law 5. Race, Religion, Histories and Futures of International Relations. Concluding Thoughts: Politics and Engagement in International Relations.
Cecelia Lynch is a professor in the department of political science at the University of California, Irvine. She is one of the original members of the "Methods Cafes" at the American Political Science Association, a forum for discussing interpretive methodologies. She has lectured at the Institute for Qualitative and Multi-Method Research (IQMMR) and at the Interpretive Methods workshop formed as part of the Northeastern Political Science Association, and acted as a faculty mentor at the NSF-funded Interpretive Methods and Methodologies workshop.