A Hungarian philosopher of mathematics and science with a troubled past flees to London after the Soviet Invasion in 1956 to outline his famous methodology of scientific research programmes; a critical branch of International Relations Theory is in a perpetual quest for relevance and credibility in order to move from the sidelines of the discipline through multiple and overlapping strategies. There seems a priori to be no connection(s) between Lakatos’s (almost forgotten) philosophy of science and the project of critical IR. Can Lakatos’s philosophy of science yield any new insights for critical IR?
Method as Theory revisits Lakatos’s philosophy of science, his biography and the international political background in which his rationalistic philosophy emerged and then contrasts it with the perennial challenges of relevance, rigor and method thrown down to so-called interpretive approaches to International Relations. It maps the shifts in the defense strategies of Critical IR and offers a typology of critical IR responses to methodological challenges. Method as Theory then shows how a subversion of methodology could offer new perspectives in IR and bridge seemingly non-reconcilable approaches.
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Subversion; Lakatos; Research Programmes; Critical Internationl Relations