International Relations: The Relevance of Theory to Practice

Joseph S. Nye

in The Oxford Handbook of International Relations

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


International Relations: The Relevance of Theory to Practice

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This article examines the gap between theorists and practitioners in the field of international relations. In recent years, the gap has been widening and bridging efforts have become more difficult. In response, former ambassador David Newsom (1995–6) advised his colleagues to broaden State Department research grants, to increase scholar-diplomat programs, and to encourage senior officials to participate in scholarly association meetings. The intelligence community, particularly the National Intelligence Council, holds regular unclassified seminars and conferences with academics. Internships and exchanges such as the Foreign Affairs fellowships sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations in the United States have also helped to introduce young American academics to a policy environment. The Internet and blogs also provide new opportunities for scholars to become involved in policy debates on a global basis. On the university side, departments could give greater weight to real-world relevance and impact in hiring and promotion decisions, and journals could place greater weight on relevance in evaluating submissions.

Keywords: international relations theory; foreign policy; academic theory; Internet; blogs; policy debates

Article.  5873 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; International Relations ; Comparative Politics

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