Tag Archives: interdisciplinarity

Blogging in IR: Reflecting Divides in the Discipline

flags-waving-in-the-windI’m at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association meeting in Toronto this week. Last night, I attended the annual bloggers’ reception, where several outstanding blogs were recognized. The awards, organized by Duck of Minerva, are quickly becoming a key event at the ISA’s meeting.

Political Violence @ a Glance was recognized as the best group blog, with The Monkey Cage recognized as runner up. Dart Throwing Chimp was the best individual blog. Nuclear Diner was the best new blog. And Daniel Drezner was awarded a special achievement award for his work in contributing to the developing of blogging in international relations.

All of the awards were well-earned, and I encourage you to check them all out. But I was also struck by the relative lack of attention paid to the international political economy side of the discipline. Historically, IR has been divided into two main subfields: international relations, which tends to focus on security issues, and international political economy, which tends to focus on global economics. A massive conference like the ISA draws IR scholars and practitioners from both sides of the discipline. But it’s striking how little connection there often is between the two groups.

This is unfortunate. Just as the most interesting and important questions are unlikely to be successfully addressed by a single disciplinary field, so too the biggest questions in IR would likely benefit from the insights provided by both subfields. Climate change, for example, is both a security and an economic question. So why are we so bad at working beyond the (sub)discipline?

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The International Studies Association: Blogging the IR/IPE Divide

I’m attending the International Studies Association meeting in San Francisco this week. One of the highlights of this year’s ISA was the ISA Bloggers Reception, at which the first winners of the Duck of Minerva’s IR blog awards were announced. The winners, all outstanding blogs definitely worth following, were:

The Most Promising New Blog was awarded to Political Violence @ a Glance, which was also recognized as runner up for best blog entry for “Is Wartime Rape Declining on a Global Scale? We Don’t Know—And It Doesn’t Matter.” 

Best Blog Entry went to John M. Hobson, blogging at The Disorder of Things, for “Eurocentrism, Racism: What’s in a Word?” 

Daniel Drezner received the award for best individual blog, while at The Disorder of Things, was named the best group blog.

The event was a great deal of fun, and I particularly enjoyed being able to put faces to all the blogs I regularly read. But the awards also highlighted a fundamental—and I think problematic—divide in the International Studies community: the division between the International Relations/International Security and the International Political Economy communities. As an IPE scholar, I was struck that none of what I consider to be the best IPE blogs were even nominated for the Duck’s awards. And at the ISA more generally, I’ve been struck by the degree to which the two communities rarely interact with one another.

And yet we recognize intuitively that the two fields are closely connected. Just as the major issues of our day—climate change, the global financial crisis, terrorism, political instability, ecological crises, and so on—cannot really be understood, let alone solved from a single disciplinary perspective, so too can we not hope to understand the dynamics of global politics from either the IR or IPE subfields alone.