University of Sussex
Queen Mary, University of London
BISA's working group on historical sociology and IR is both a return and a fresh start. It is a return because what we are proposing is to reacquaint two long standing friends who have recently become strangers - history and sociology. But the working group is also a fresh start in its attempt to build IR formatively into this relationship. What we are looking to do, therefore, is set up more of a menage-a-trois than a conventional marriage or partnership.
There are two main reasons why we want to reconvene historical sociology with IR built in on the ground floor. First, the main preoccupation of historical sociology - large-scale social change - is intricately bound up with the international. Far too often, debates about profoundly international concerns - wars, revolutions or the spread of capitalism - fail to integrate properly debates already deeply entrenched in IR. Second, IR, like sociology, has a deep association with history. But just like sociology before it, so the relationship between IR and history has fluctuated, important for the English school, but exorcised from behaviourism and much neo-realism. This has served to distance IR from historical analysis: International Relations, if you like, without the international relations.