THEORY is a section of the International Studies Association dedicated to debating and developing theory. The THEORY Section aims to promote the importance of theory in IR scholarship, foster research networks and opportunities for collaboration and exchange and enhance the dialogue between IR and Political Theory and the status of IR scholars as political theorists.
The purpose of this section is to offer scholars of International Relations (IR) a forum to develop and debate theory. Most of our insights and arguments about world politics rest on theory; it permeates research, teaching and informs the decisions made by practitioners. And yet, there is no consensus among IR scholars what qualifies as a (good) theory, what distinguishes it from a ‘framework’ or a ‘perspective’, and, indeed, what theorizing entails. Moreover, growing theoretical pluralism seems to have spurred a compartmentalisation of the IR community rather than lively debates about the nature and practice of theorising.
Given this state of affairs, the THEORY Section has three main aims: (i) Promoting the importance of theory in IR scholarship and encouraging scholars to interrogate the meaning and purpose of theory, how theories develop, how they relate to history and affect policymaking; (ii) fostering research networks and opportunities for collaboration and exchange, regardless of regional/topical expertise and across the theoretical spectrum; and (iii) enhancing the dialogue between IR and Political Theory and the status of IR scholars as political theorists. The TS will pursue these aims through a mailing list, newsletters, workshops and conference panels in collaboration with like-minded organizations and ISA sections.
Backed by a distinguished Advisory Board, we are committed to building the THEORY Section into a vibrant forum for the global community of IR scholars and invite all theoretically curious ISA members to join.