Beyond the Ivory Tower: International Relations Theory by Joseph Lepgold

By Joseph Lepgold

The space among teachers and practitioners in diplomacy has widened in recent times, in accordance with the authors of this booklet. Many diplomacy students not attempt to achieve past the ivory tower and plenty of policymakers disdain diplomacy scholarship as arcane and beside the point. Joseph Lepgold and Miroslav Nincic show how stable diplomacy concept can tell coverage offerings. Globalization, ethnic clash, and ecological threats have created a brand new set of concerns that problem policymakers, and state-of-the-art scholarship can give a contribution very much to the analysis and dealing with of probably explosive occasions.

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Extra info for Beyond the Ivory Tower: International Relations Theory

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Correspondingly, some IR theorists are interested in patterns that are not issue-specific, though most tend to generalize at a somewhat lower, issue-specific level of abstraction. For the foreseeable future, the most obvious bridge across the theory-practice divide will probably connect “mid-range” theorists to those policymakers who have some familiarity with the literature, often produced in think tanks, that uses generic knowledge to explain certain types of real-world problems. 52 Why Revisit the Scholar-Practitioner Problem?

Second, key changes in the international environment can affect the goals that are considered feasible or desirable. That, in turn, can spur fresh thinking about instrumental relationships. For example, even though Western calls for democratization in the Communist bloc during the cold war may have been sincere, the goal was then so infeasible that they often assumed a ritualistic, if not propagandistic, air. Once the Berlin Wall fell and the promotion of democracy became a top policy priority in many capitals, discussions on how to achieve that goal occupied foreign policy journals and captured the interest of many social scientists.

53 As a significant byproduct, it could also become highly policy-relevant. Interestingly, decisionmakers recognize these intellectual challenges and seem to desire help in dealing with them. As the late Joseph Kruzel—a senior Defense Department official at the time of his death and a one-time professor at Ohio State—put it, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, there has been a profound breakpoint in the policy process. The bureaucratic predilection to do tomorrow what you did yesterday does not work when the whole world has changed.

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