Inventing International Society: A History of the English School

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Inventing International Society: A History of the English School

By Tim Dunne
St. Martin's Press, 1998
240 pp. $65.00
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This book traces the rise of the English School, a rich tradition of postwar international relations scholarship dominated by such luminaries as E. H. Carr, Martin White, Herbert Butterfield, and Hedley Bull. Dunne suggests that modern American scholars would do well to remember the school's legacy, especially its focus on history's role in shaping the institutions and practices of geopolitics. While Americans started to distinguish international relations from other disciplines such as history, law, comparative government, and philosophy in the 1950s, the English School continued to move comfortably about from field to field. It also resisted the American movement toward testable theories and embraced instead a more historical orientation. And while American scholars sharpened the differences between realism and liberalism, their English contemporaries tried to bridge the two camps. Dunne concludes that the English School has weathered the test of time well, given the rapidly changing fashions of international relations scholarship. Today, as American political scientists begin to explore culture, identity, and the social construction of world politics, this book suggests how much ahead of its time the English School really was. To its detriment, however, it misses an opportunity to explore the possible links between British and American camps.

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