FOUR DEBATES IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS THEORY

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Identify and explain four inter-paradigm debates in International Relations Theory? In history of international relations, there are a lot of debate between IR approaches. These are called “Great Debates”. These debates are very important for study of international relations. These discussions are divided into four groups.

In this article; firstly I want to give you some information about debates than I want to talk about debates in Turkey. Finally I will make an assessment.

In international relations area, there are most important debates. The first great debate is idealism and realism. This debate has emerged in 1919-1939. The basic point of debate; idealists are believed to reason and science. But according to realists idealists are very romantic. Earth, consists of reality. The opposite of liberalists, realists says world, as it should be examined. In the future discussion included different paradigms. Like neo realism and neo liberalism. Liberal theory has collapsed in the Second World War and economic depression. In the other academic study of international relations has been liberal. (But in the background there is realism)

If we come to the second great debate.  Behaviouralism and traditionalism. This debate has emerged in 1960. David Easton, John Vasquez, Morton Kaplan and David Singer are important thinkers for this debate. According to traditionalism conceptual judgement and interpretative judgement important than systematic data collection. The opposite of traditionalism for behaviouralism there are general laws and regulations in ınternational relations discipline. Another important issue in this debate is the distinction between behavioral and realistic paradigms. Thinkers explains it as follows: There are some differences but behaviouralists adopt a realist theory.

In this section, we will examine the debate between the paradigms. The foundations of this discussion is based on “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” which write by Thomas Kuhn. (1970) Kuhn divides the era of scientific progress. Normal and revolutionary period. In normal period paradigm for all opinions. But in revolutionary period, new paradigms are formed. The basic point of this debate in 1980 is that; besides the realism there are new paradigm; these ones, pluralism and structuralism. In epitome this debate is protective shield for realism.

Last debate is between positivism and post-positivism. It is the longest discussion in international relations area. This debate has emerged 1980. Robert Keohane is most important thinkers for this debate. For Keohane the basic point of this debate is that; there are some differences between rationalist’s and reflectivists. According to Keohane   neo-realist and neo-liberal theories depends on the realism. Reflectivism has against to realism. In epitome material elements, causality and science are very important for realists but for reflectivists reality are not rhetoric and theory. In conclusion in this debate positivism is supposed only advocate of science.

   When we come to Turkey. In Turkey there are not specific debate and theory. Usually study of international relations in Turkey about regional theories. Lately a new school is tried to create in Turkey it is named Anatolian School. Like English School or Copenhagen School.

To sum up, this article about theory and basic theotherical debate in international relations. But don not forget there is American’s discipline in foundation of international relations. Theories’ debate is very important for future of international relations. Because theories belong to how we want establish a word.

Oktay KAYMAK

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Oktay KAYMAK

International "Relations&Law" Doctrine, Practice and Theory oktaykaymak02[at]gmail.com

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