The Promise and Perils of Interpretivism in Australian International Relations

Christopher (Ian) Hall

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Australian International Relations (IR) was once a hybrid of American and European styles of political science, but today it is dominated by a British-inspired post-positivism which has its virtues - and its vices - and which utilises various interpretive and semi-interpretive approaches. This paper welcomes the 'interpretive turn' in Australian IR, but recognises its weaknesses, and argues that, to overcome them, interpretivists must be clear about what interpretivism should and should not entail. It argues that a thoroughgoing interpretivism offers two things that qualitative work in Australian IR desperately needs: a revived focus on explaining international relations, as well as understanding it, and a renewed engagement with other fields and other modes of studying the field.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)307-316
    JournalAustralian Journal of Public Administration
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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