Robert Cox on World Orders

… Historical Change, and the Purpose of Theory in International Relations – Theory Talk #37: Robert Cox

Linked with Theory Talks (April 20).

Realism in International Relations (IR) has never been challenged as eloquently as by Robert W. Cox in his seminal article Social Forces, States, and World Orders. Ever since, his work has inspired critical students of IR and International Political Economy (IPE) to think beyond the boundaries of conventional theorizing and to investigate the premises that underpin and link international politics and academic reflection on it. Recognized by many as one of the world’s most important thinkers in both IR and IPE, Cox assembles impressive and complex thinking stemming from history, philosophy, and geopolitics, to illuminate how politics can never be separated from economics, how theory is always linked to practice, and how material relations and ideas are inextricably intertwined to co-produce world orders. In this seminal Talk, Cox, amongst others, discusses possible futures we now face in terms of world order; reiterates what it means that theory is always for someone and for some purpose; and shows how the distinction between critical and problem-solving theory illuminates the problem of climate change.

Read the Print version of this talk, published on Theory Talks, March 12, 2010,  9 pdf-pages text.

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