“Silences and Exclusions”: How we Waste our Time with Little Things

If there’s one thing that international relations theorists love to do, it’s criticise each other’s theories. Unfortunately, in the course of that noble goal, the distinction between “important” and “unimportant” criticisms is often lost, and sometimes even deliberately disregarded. It is forgotten that our theories are models, that they cannot possibly be all-inclusive without their logical lessons being lost in the chaos, without losing their subject specificity. Consider this example–many theorists have made a name for themselves criticising a dominant theory in international relations, the neorealism of Kenneth Waltz.  Today I’d like to discuss Waltz’ theory and some of its criticisms, and question how helpful or effective those criticisms really are.

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