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International Relations' Last Synthesis?Decoupling Constructivist and Critical Approaches$
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J. Samuel Barkin and Laura Sjoberg

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190463427

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190463427.001.0001

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Understanding and Classifying Critical Approaches

Understanding and Classifying Critical Approaches

(p.79) 5 Understanding and Classifying Critical Approaches
International Relations' Last Synthesis?

J. Samuel Barkin

Laura Sjoberg

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that what various theoretical approaches to IR that describe themselves or are described as critical share in common is that they are political rather than social theories. There are no other common elements to be found across this group of approaches. Various schemas used to typify different sorts of critical theories (e.g., emancipatory/postmodern; feminist/postcolonial/poststructuralist; Copenhagen School/Aberystwyth School/Paris School) signify different political theories with different political content but share political investment in both disciplinary International Relations and global politics. They are explicitly engaged in International Relations theorizing and International Relations research as a political enterprise with political ends.

Keywords:   International Relations theory, critical theory, feminism, political theory, Robert Cox, emancipatory theory, postmodernist International Relations

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