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Culture(s) in International Relations

Edited By Grażyna Michałowska and Hanna Schreiber

This book presents a critical reflection on how the presence of «culture» in theory and practice of international relations is reflected in International Relations as a research field. The authors analyze culture in International Relations scholarship and evaluate culture in the practice of International Relations, as well as in International Law. The contemporary social sciences have put culture on a pedestal. The proliferation of the meanings associated with the notion of what culture is, has gone very far. The results of analyses presented in this book are meant to contribute to solving the existing confusion, to identify the research fields in IR where culture appears.

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Culture in the Theories of International Relations (Anna Wojciuk)


← 26 | 27 →

Anna Wojciuk

Culture in the Theories of International Relations

Key words: international relations theory, culture, constructivism, clash of civilizations, realism, strategic culture

Abstract: The article analyses how culture was incorporated into international relations theories. Starting from the considerations for strategic culture during the Cold War, it discusses culture from the realist perspective of Samuel Huntington and finally seeks to explain the cultural sources of whole social reality under constructivism.

The 1990s were a time of the most intensive debate on the relations between culture and international relations1. The reason for this was, on the one hand, the ‘shock’ of the end of the Cold War, and on the other hand, the ‘thawing’ of nationalisms and ethnicity-based conflicts. It is then that the international relations scholarship saw the most noteworthy works published with the word ‘culture’ in the title, and numerous conferences and seminars were dedicated to discussing a new direction of development of international relations, taking culture into account.2 Peter Katzenstein notes that the end of the Cold War was as important for the development of international relations discipline as the sinking of the Titanic for naval engineers.3 At that time, people also used to say that the theory ← 27 | 28 → of international relations ‘slept’ through the political revolution. This is why in these times so much effort was put into questioning realism, neorealism and neoliberalism, and into the search for new narrations to describe and explain the...

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