Handbook of Critical International Relations
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Handbook of Critical International Relations

Edited by Steven C. Roach

Comprising a plurality of perspectives, this timely Handbook is an essential resource for understanding past and current challenges to democracy, justice, social and gender equality, identity and freedom. It shows how critical international relations (IR) theory functions as a broad-based and diverse critique of society.
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Chapter 7: Dialectics in critical international relations theory

Shannon Brincat and Susan de Groot Heupner


This chapter outlines the utility of dialectics within Critical International Relations Theory as a method or approach towards a deeper understanding of both relations and change within world politics. As a way of thinking that captures what we call “the between”, dialectics deepens analytical focus of the historical development of all phenomena through their relationality. By focusing on the conditions and relations of things and phenomena, the dialectical mode of analysis offers an effective approach to pierce through the appearance of the stability or giveness of things and instead perceive them in their perpetual processes of relationality and change. As an alternative to dualistic and oppositional modes of thinking, we emphasise the fundamentality of the philosophy of internal relations to dialectical thought. We provide a potential method for others to apply dialectics through five movements in accordance with the ontological premises of flux and internal relations.

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