27 episodes

Patrick and Dan work their way through a piece of international-relations scholarship. And drink whiskey.

Whiskey & International Relations Theory Drs. Patrick Thaddeus Jackson & Daniel Nexon

    • Science
    • 4.9 • 31 Ratings

Patrick and Dan work their way through a piece of international-relations scholarship. And drink whiskey.

    Everything is Relational

    Everything is Relational

    It's a nostalgia episode for our two hosts, Patrick and Dan. They tackle Mustafa Emirbayer's 1997 article in the American Journal of Sociology, "Manifesto for a Relational Sociology." According to Emirbayer, "Sociologists today are faced with a fundamental dilemma: whether to conceive of the social world as consisting primarily in substances or processes, in static 'things' or in dynamic, unfolding relations." Was that also true of International Relations? PTJ and Dan certainly thought so back in 1999. Is it still true today? The two may or may not answer this question, but they do work through Emirbayer's article in no little detail.Additional works alluded to in this podcast include Bhaskar, A Realist Theory of Science (1975); Emirbayer and Goodwin, "Network Analysis, Culture, and the Problem of Agency" (1994); Emirbayer and Mische, "What is Agency" (1998); Mann, The Sources of Social Power, Volume II (1993); Pratt, "From Norms to Normative Configurations: A Pragmatist and Relational Approach to Theorizing Normativity in IR" (2020); Sommers, "The Narrative Constitution of Identity: A Relational and Network Approach" (1994); Tilly, Durable Inequality (1998); and Wiener, Contestation and Constitution of Norms in Global International Relations (2018). 

    • 1 hr 58 min
    Anarchy vs. The Anarchy

    Anarchy vs. The Anarchy

    The University of Chicago's Paul Poast claims that G. Lowes Dickinson was the OG "modern" theorist of international relations—and also an "offensive realists." John Mearsheimer invokes Dickinson in Tragedy of Great Power Politics, but notes that Dickinson vocally supported the creation of the League of Nations. Brian Schmidt pays close attention to Dickinson in his work on the history of the discipline. Andreas Osiander also sees Dickinson's account of anarchy as realist, but emphasizes that Dickinson's argument has distinctive "overtones of moralism and voluntarism" and that "Dickinson hope[s] that [anarchy] might be transcended." Jeanne Morefield offers a nuanced appraisal, arguing that we shouldn't read Dickinson through the idealist-realist frame later popularized by E.H. Carr (see also). Unfortunately, we consulted few of these works before recording the episode, so we unwittingly make arguments that previously appeared in some of this scholarship. We apologize, and hope that listeners go out and read the work that we link to above.We discuss whether or not Dickinson is a "realist" (which is probably the least interesting aspect of his work), and examine parts of The European Anarchy, The International Anarchy, The Causes of War, and lots of other stuff. Dan reiterates his view that structural realists are best understood as "liberal pessimists" and Patrick discusses Dickinson's biography and some of his work outside of the area of international relations.

    • 1 hr 31 min
    The New Hierarchy Studies

    The New Hierarchy Studies

    Scholars of international relations don't agree on much, but they at least agree that anarchy (the lack of a common authority to make and enforce rules) is the defining feature of international politics, right? Not exactly. There's a long history of research that emphasizes the hierarchical character of international relations. Now a new wave of scholarship argues that international-relations theory should move beyond anarchy. Some advocate giving it a downgrade. Others want to banish the concept entirely. What drives the new hierarchy studies? Why is it gaining steam? In this episode, David Lake, Dani Nedal, and Ayşe Zarakol join a "Whiskey Optional" roundtable on the subject of international hierarchy.

    • 1 hr 26 min
    International Relations in China

    International Relations in China

    What is the topography of international-relations theory in the People's Republic of China? What is the "Chinese School of International Relations?" Astrid Nordin (King's College, London), Yan Xuetong (Tsinghua University), and Qin Yaqing (Peking University) join the podcast to answer these – and other – questions about Chinese international-relations scholarship. 

    • 1 hr 32 min
    Being Academic and Pandemic Time

    Being Academic and Pandemic Time

    In this “Whiskey Optional” episode, PTJ facilitates a conversation among four colleagues from different countries and different kinds of academic institutions about the current global pandemic – not primarily about research on the pandemic, but about the experience of being an academic during the pandemic. Since part of that experience involves bringing our theoretical predilections to bear on the contemporary situation, we drift back and forth between the pandemic as a scholarly object and the pandemic as an experiential actuality.

    • 1 hr 33 min
    So a Deputy Foreign Minister and an Academic Realist Walk into a Bar

    So a Deputy Foreign Minister and an Academic Realist Walk into a Bar

    In 2014, John Mearsheimer authored a Foreign Affairs article in which he blamed that year's Ukraine crisis on the U.S., NATO, and the EU. The next year he gave a talk on the subject which the University of Chicago uploaded to YouTube.Last week the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs used excerpts from Mearsheimer's article and talk as part of its efforts to propagandize in favor of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Isaac Chotiner subsequently interviewed Mearsheimer for the New Yorker.For some reason, Patrick and Dan thought it would be a good thing to record an impromptu podcast on the controversy – and to down more whisky than usual during the process. We've managed to cut the discussion down to two hours, but it's not, shall we say, the most organized episode we've done. Topics include specific aspects of Mearsheimer's argument, the importance of skepticism about what government officials tell you, and how academics should present their arguments when engaging in public-facing scholarship. Caveat emptor.Note that this is a corrected version of the original podcast. Dan inaccurately characterized two aspects of the talk. He's added a mea culpa at the start of the episode and edited the discussion accordingly.

    • 2 hr 4 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
31 Ratings

31 Ratings

Waltz, K. ,


Two of my favorite topics. This is possibly the best podcast ever made.

Gregory S. Sanders ,

Good for both broadening and deepening understanding

I've found the podcast to be a great resource both for texts I'm more familiar with and for those that are newer to me. I think it works well in its core paired format, where the different focuses and sometime disagreements help tease out the nuances of a work and the different ways it can be used and interpreted. But I was also wowed by the way that it can bring together a panel to add light to a heated debate.

AAS247 ,

Highly recommended

Excellent podcast for anyone interested in IR theory. Pairs well with the various whiskeys the hosts recommend.

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