US Dominance and American Bias in International Relations Scholarship: A View from the Outside

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    This article responds to the Journal of Global Security Studies special issue on “American Perspectives and Blind Spots on World Politics,” edited by Jeff Colgan. It applauds their significant achievement in offering positivist demonstrations of the bias generated by American assumptions, coding, and preferences, and quantitative demonstration of the systemic and systematic impact of this bias in skewing key assumptions and theories in mainstream US international relations (IR), by selectivizing attention and compromising accuracy. The article pushes the envelope further by arguing that the call to arms is more urgent and more significant than Colgan et al. express. As US hegemony is diluted, the discipline of IR must increasingly account for other parts of the world. Here, cultural bias generates deeper problems with both ontology and epistemology. The article reviews the wider IR field that shows how IR is at once more global and less easily generalizable, driving the imperative to expand the universe of cases for qualitative research. It warns that the problem of US bias and the wider issue of insularity is accentuated by the growing distance between IR scholarship as expressed in top journal publications and “real-world” puzzles and empirical reality—and by ongoing changes in how governments provide state support and funding for IR research and training.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)402-410
    JournalJournal of Global Security Studies
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


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