About the necessity of a theory for international relations

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In the field of international relations, social sciences paradigms -not without prejudices- hide an unexpected object within their self-deprecation : political ideas. Realists often summon, yet not without a pinch of salt, concepts borrowed from pessimistic philosophies of human nature and voluntarism. Liberal ironicism, with its penchant for anti-state and cosmopolitist trans-nationalist ideas, hypertrophies cooperation and integration with law or morale. Structuralists, and other systemists, forget the actors’ importance. American feminists denounce « machismo » in world politics’ male universe. How could one not be lost ? The philosophical and ideological origin of all these theories is a problem, since they reproduce Western manicheism, imposing a « binary structure of dispute ». As the object of a sociology of knowledge, international relations « paradigms » seem to play the part of substitute for a religious dogma. An epistemological study focused on their roots reveals the convergence of analyses, all of them endowed with a paradoxically strategic dimension. Would it be the secret triumph of « realism » which, hidden under diverse masks, unable to elaborate on its own a theory facing the complexity and violence of the political object, would be injecting his so-called adversaries its rash problematic, beyond good and evil? –Summary AFRI-2003