Sociological Approaches

Friedrich Kratochwil

in The Oxford Handbook of International Relations

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780199219322
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:


 Sociological Approaches

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This article is organized around the following points. After a clarification of the concept of society, it examines whether we can meaningfully speak of a ‘world society’. It then addresses some methodological issues that are crucial for approaches that focus on social action, be it in the internal or the external arena. The main difference between sociological and other approaches consists of how to treat ‘social’ facts, whether they can be treated like ‘natural’ ones or not. Quite clearly this is a far wider discussion than a discussion on ‘methods’ or even on ‘science’. Behind it looms the larger problem of what our ‘concepts’, which are part of our theories, do; whether they simply match a preexisting reality — which is therefore susceptible to ‘one’ correct description — or whether our concepts are implicated in the constitution of the very entities and problems we study.

Keywords: society; international relations; social action; social facts

Article.  8414 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; International Relations ; Political Methodology

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