6 Oct 2021 15:00 - 16:30 Online


gloknos is pleased to be co-sponsoring the launch of two exciting new books on the politics of knowledge in IR, both part of the Routledge Worlding Beyond the West series. This is event is co-sponsored by gloknos, CRITIQUESKAPE and CeSeR.

Questions of truth and expertise are at the forefront of global political debates, such that it is common to speak of a ‘post-truth’ world and a backlash against ‘expert’ knowledge. From Brexit to climate change, from the Syrian civil war to Covid-19, established ‘truths’ and conventional wisdoms have become the subject of bitter and fierce controversy. What does this mean for scholars of International Relations, who often find themselves at the forefront of these debates? How can we build trust in scholarship and expertise without becoming embroiled in political conflicts? What is the role of critical scholarship now that distrust has gone mainstream? Can scholarship ever be apolitical, and should it aim to be? Does theory help, or hinder, our understanding of the world? And how can we avoid our theories being mistaken for the world itself?

This event will feature discussion with:

Chair: Christina Boswell, University of Edinburgh

Inanna Hamati-Ataya, University of Cambridge
Patrick Thaddeus Jackson, American University
Beate Jahn, University of Sussex

Benjamin Martill, University of Edinburgh
Kasia Kaczmarska, University of Edinburgh
Sebastian Schindler, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

For more information about this event, including how to register for Zoom details, please visit the host Eventbrite page.


gloknos is initially funded for 5 years by the European Research Council through a Consolidator Grant awarded to Dr Inanna Hamati-Ataya for her project ARTEFACT (2017-2022). ARTEFACT is funded by the European Research Council under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (ERC grant agreement no. 724451). For information about gloknos or ARTEFACT please contact the administrator in the first instance.

The Books & Authors

Making Global Knowledge in Local Contexts: The Politics of International Relations and Policy Advice in Russia | Dr Katarzyna Kaczmarska

Published by Routledge, this book draws on extensive ethnographic research undertaken in Russia to show how the wider sociopolitical context – the political system, relationship between the state and academia as well as the contours of the public debate – shapes knowledge about international politics and influences scholars’ engagement with the policy world.

Combining an in-depth study of the International Relations discipline in Russia with a robust methodological framework, the book demonstrates that context not only bears on epistemic and disciplinary practices but also conditions scholars’ engagement with the wider public and policymakers. This original study lends robust sociological foundations to the debate about knowledge in International Relations and the social sciences more broadly. In particular, the book questions contemporary thinking about the relationship between knowledge and politics by situating the university within, rather than abstracting it from the political setting. The monograph benefits from a comprehensive engagement with Russian-language literature in the Sociology of Knowledge and critical reading of International Relations scholarship published in Russia.

This text will be of interest to scholars and students in International Relations, Russian and Post-Soviet Studies, the Sociology of Knowledge, Science and Technology Studies and Higher Education Studies. It will appeal to those researching the knowledge-policy nexus and knowledge production practices.

Dr Katarzyna Kaczmarska is Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at the University of Edinburgh. Kasia’s research interests centre on knowledge construction among scholars and practitioners of international politics and the ways in which the socio-political context influences academic knowledge-making and use. Prior to joining the University of Edinburgh, she was Marie Curie Fellow at Aberystwyth University with an individual research project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme. Her work was published in International Studies ReviewInternational RelationsJournal of International Relations and Development and Problems of Post Communism.

Theory as Ideology in International Relations: The Politics of Knowledge | Benjamin Martill and Sebastian Schindler (ed.s)

Are theoretical tools nothing but political weapons? How can the two be distinguished from each other? What is the ideological role of theories like liberalism, neoliberalism or democratic theory? And how can we study the theories of actors from outside the academic world? This book examines these and related questions at the nexus of theory and ideology in International Relations.

The current crisis of politics made it abundantly clear that theory is not merely an impartial and neutral academic tool, but instead is implicated in political struggles. However, it is also clear that it is insufficient to view theory merely as a political weapon. This book brings together contributions from a number of different scholarly perspectives to engage with these problems. The contributors, drawn from various fields of International Relations and Political Science, cast new light on the ever-problematic relationship between theory and ideology. They analyse the ideological underpinnings of existing academic theories and examine the theories of non-academic actors such as staff members of international organisations, Ecovillagers and liberal politicians.

This edited volume is also published by Routledge, and is a must-read for all those interested in the contemporary political crisis and its relation to theories of International Relations.

Benjamin Martill is Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at the University of Edinburgh. His research examines the politics of foreign policy, with a particular focus on the role of parties and ideology, as well as questions of European security and UK-EU relations post-Brexit. He is the author of a number of scholarly publications, including recent articles in International Affairs, the Journal of Common Market Studies, and the Journal of European Public Policy. At Edinburgh, Benjamin teaches courses on Brexit and on European foreign and security policy.

Sebastian Schindler is Assistant Professor of Political Science at LMU Munich. In his research, he grapples with the loss of political experience of acting together at a time of unleashed competition. He won the F.S. Northedge Essay Competition of the journal Millennium in 2014, and has published articles on themes such as practice and change, critique and practice, and the problem of post-truth politics. In addition to the anthology Theory as Ideology in International Relations, he has co-edited a special issue on “Rethinking Agency in International Relations” and written an introductory study on Clausewitz.

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