Method or madness: sociolatry in international thought

Owens, Patricia (2015) Method or madness: sociolatry in international thought. Review of International Studies, 41 (4). 655 -674. ISSN 0260-2105

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International theory has a social problem. Twenty years after the so-called ‘social turn’, the historical origins of distinctly social forms of thought are not subject to scrutiny, let alone well understood. Indeed, the problem of the ahistorical social is an issue not only for predominant liberal, realist, and constructivist appropriations of social theory, but also the broad spectrum of critical and Marxist modes of theorising. In contrast to practicing sociolatry, the worship of things ‘socio’, this article addresses the historicity of the social as both a mode of thought - primarily in social theories and sociology - against the background of the emergence of the social realm as a concrete historical formation. It highlights problems with the social theoretic underpinnings of liberalism, social constructivism, and Marxism and advances an original claim for why the rise of the social was accompanied by attacks on things understood (often erroneously) as political. To fully understand these phenomena demands a closer examination of the more fundamental governance form the modern social realm was purported to replace, but which it scaled up and transformed.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology > HM0435 History of sociology. History of sociological theory
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
J Political Science > JC Political theory. The state. Theories of the state
J Political Science > JZ International relations
J Political Science > JZ International relations > JZ1249 Relation to other disciplines and topics
Depositing User: Patricia Owens
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2015 11:00
Last Modified: 24 May 2018 16:28

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