International Practice Theory

Frank Gadinger with Christian Bueger (University of Copenhagen)

When the idea of a practice turn gained salience in the discipline of International Relations it was relatively quickly narrowed down and equated to a particular reading of practice theory offered by Emanuel Adler and Vincent Pouliot. The common project International Practice Theory offers through a variety of publications  for more than a decade now a much-needed corrective that demonstrates how the discipline can benefit from a broader understanding of practice theory. The project suggests that practice theory is a diverse intellectual and trans-disciplinary trading zone bound together by a range of commitments and combining different social-theoretical traditions. The methodological focus on international practices implies to study processes of world politics through the lens of everyday practices by groups of political actors such as negotiating, benchmarking, using expertise and organizing protest. The project aims at tackling core conceptual challenges that will advance the debate on international practices, such as the questions on change, normativity, materiality, power and critique. Furthermore, the program of International Practice Theory implies to explicitly discuss the methodological consequences of thinking with practices and suggests that we need to rebalance the relations between theory and empirics and experiment with new techniques (e.g. praxiography) of how to study and theorize practices. The conceptual work and empirical findings in different fields of world politics (e.g. diplomacy, warfare, international organizations, global governance) can be also relevant for practice-oriented scholars in other disciplines and provides opportunities for interdiscplinary exchange.

Keywords International Practices, Order and Change, Normativity, Research Methodology, Everyday Practices of Global Governing

Related publications

Bueger, Christian/Gadinger, Frank (2018): International Practice Theory, Second Edition, Cham: Palgrave MacMillan.

Bueger, Christian/Gadinger, Frank (2018): From Community to Practice: International Relations as a Practical Configuration, in: Andreas Gofas/Inanna Hamati-Ataya/Nicholas Onuf (eds.): The Sage Handbook of the History, Philosophy, and Sociology of International Relations, London: Sage Publications, 359-371.

Bueger, Christian, and Gadinger, Frank (2017): International Practice Theories, in: Michael Jonas and Beate Littig (eds.): Praxeological Political Analysis, London/New York: Routledge, 87–106.

Gadinger, Frank (2017): Praxistheorie in den Internationalen Beziehungen, in: Carlo Masala and Frank Sauer (eds.): Handbuch Internationale Beziehungen, 2. Ed., Wiesbaden: Springer VS, 399–428

Gadinger, Frank (2016): On Justification and Critique: Luc Boltanski's Pragmatic Sociology and International Relations, in: International Political Sociology 10 (3): 187–205.

Bueger, Christian, and Gadinger, Frank (2015): The Play of International Practice. (open access), in: International Studies Quarterly, 59 (8), 449–60.

Christian Bueger, and Gadinger, Frank (2008): Praktisch gedacht! Praxistheoretischer Konstruktivismus in den Internationalen Beziehungen [Think Practical! Practice-Theoretical Constructivism in International Relations], in: Zeitschrift für Internationale Beziehungen, 15 (2), 273–302.

Bueger, Christian, and Gadinger, Frank (2007): Reassembling and Dissecting: International Relations Practice from a Science Studies Perspective in: International Studies Perspectives 8 (1), 90–110.