ISA’s Call for Proposals: The Politics of International Relations

The 11th Convention of the CEEISA will feature a diverse set of panels organized around multiple aspects of the study of international relations. Submissions of papers, panels, and roundtables on any aspect of international relations broadly understood are welcomed and encouraged.
We particularly invite submissions in which scholars turn their focus to this year’s convention theme: “The Politics of International Relations”.

As a field of study and as a discipline, international relations has traditionally been defined by contrasting it to domestic politics. Of course, the challenges to the “inside/outside-divide” at the heart of this definition are legion and helped to establish studying the degree to which the divide persists as an integral part of international relations as a discipline. Students of interdependence and globalization have discussed to what extent traditional notions of state sovereignty and autonomy have been challenged. Research on governance beyond the nation state or multi-level governance has explored the potential for authoritative rule-making to overcome collective action problems in issue areas as diverse as monetary politics, the environment and the nonproliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction. In this context, it has often been highlighted that states are no longer the only influential actors in international affairs but share the stage with non-governmental organizations, firms and inter- or even supranational organizations.
The various challenges to the “inside/outside-divide” have become widely accepted, especially in Europe where interdependence as well as governance beyond the nation state are particularly advanced. Nevertheless, the “inside/outside-divide” has been remarkably persistent in different notions of political contestation within states, on the one hand, and among states, on the other hand. Whereas domestic politics is widely understood as a struggle between competing political ideologies, often organized as political parties, students of international relations tend to assume a functionalist perspective that emphasizes the technical nature of collective action problems and reduces the political element in negotiations over institutional remedies to conflicts among states with different interests, rather than diverging visions of justice and political order.
By highlighting the political nature of international relations, this convention encourages papers, panels and roundtables that explore the extent to which politics, understood as contestation over different political orders, really stops at the water’s edge. In particular, we encourage contributions addressing the following questions:
1. Is there a party-political dimension to foreign policy and international politics? Does the ideological orientation of the government make a difference for international conflict and cooperation? Several high profile cases such as the 2003 Iraq War and the Eurocrisis would suggest that party politics plays a role but we still lack studies of other cases.
2. To what extent can the international conflict and cooperation be fruitfully analyzed as contestation over notions of justice, legitimacy and order?
3. What does the politicization of international relations imply for research and teaching? Whereas a functionalist approach to international politics conceives of scholars as experts who can contribute to smart solutions, a more politicized understanding of international relations suggests that scholars need to reflect on their role as possible advocates of political orders.

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