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Relations Before States: Substance, Process, and the Study of World Politics

Patrick T. Jackson and Daniel H. Nexon. "Relations Before States: Substance, Process, and the Study of World Politics." European Journal of International Relations 5.3 (1999): 291-332.

In recent years, paradigmatic debates in International Relations (IR) have focused on questions of epistemology and methodology. While important in their own right, these differences have obscured the basic divide in the discipline between substantialism, which takes entities as primitives, and relationalism, which takes processes of social transaction as the basic building blocks of theory. We argue that while both approaches can be fruitful, theories of processes and relations are better suited to address certain questions, most notably those involving change in global politics. Drawing on work in International Relations, sociology and philosophy, we examine what such theories entail and discuss areas of research for which they are especially suited.

» More publications by Daniel H Nexon

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