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The history/theory dialectic in the thought of Herbert Butterfield, Martin Wight and E. H. Carr: a reconceptualisation of the English School of international relations

Papagaryfallou, Ioannis (2016) The history/theory dialectic in the thought of Herbert Butterfield, Martin Wight and E. H. Carr: a reconceptualisation of the English School of international relations. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Abstract

The aim of my thesis is to reconceptualise the English School of International Relations according to what I describe as the history/theory dialectic. The origins of this dialectic are sought in the thought of E. H. Carr, Herbert Butterfield, and Martin Wight, who drew attention to the interpenetration of history and theory. In their capacity as historians, the writers examined in my thesis struggled with problems normally associated with theoretical work in International Relations and elsewhere and tried to combine personal and impersonal accounts of history. They also emphasised the role of the historian which is no different from that of the theorist in attributing meaning to a series of apparently unrelated events. As international theorists, Butterfield, Wight and Carr underlined the historicity of international theory, and offered a historicist conceptualisation of international change that assigned priority to European interests and values. Their belief in the co-constitution of history and theory, has important consequences for contemporary English School debates concerning the proper definition of the relationship between order and justice, international society and world society, pluralism and solidarism. What lies at the end of the history/theory dialectic is not an unproblematic combination of opposites but the recognition of the need to be cautious towards the categories we use in order to capture and analyse a multidimensional reality which is subject to change.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2016 Ioannis Papagaryfallou
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Sets: Departments > International Relations
Supervisor: Wilson, Peter
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/3465

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