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Causation in International Relations
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  • Cited by 85
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    This book has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Meissner, Richard Steyn, Maronel Jacobs-Mata, Inga Moyo, Elliot Shadung, Justinus Nohayi, Ngowenani and Mngadi, Thenjiwe 2019. Understanding Water Security at Local Government Level in South Africa. p. 73.

    Alcaro, Riccardo 2018. Europe and Iran’s Nuclear Crisis. p. 203.

    Cavalieri, Alice Russo, Federico and Verzichelli, Luca 2018. Misery loves company. Strategies for retrenchment in the era of constrained public finance. Italian Political Science Review/Rivista Italiana di Scienza Politica, Vol. 48, Issue. 3, p. 327.

    Beach, Derek 2018. Handbuch Methoden der Politikwissenschaft. p. 1.

    Humphreys, Adam R.C. 2018. Realism, empiricism and causal inquiry in International Relations: What is at stake?. European Journal of International Relations, p. 135406611875917.

    Hoseason, Alex 2018. Between philosophy and social science: Harm and its object in International Relations. Review of International Studies, Vol. 44, Issue. 4, p. 717.

    Törnberg, Anton 2018. Abstractions on steroids: A critical realist approach to computer simulations. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour,

    Alcaro, Riccardo 2018. Europe and Iran’s Nuclear Crisis. p. 23.

    Hellmann, Gunther 2018. Ordnung und Regieren in der Weltgesellschaft. p. 77.

    Xenakis, Sappho and Cheliotis, Leonidas K. 2018. Carceral moderation and the Janus face of international pressure: A long view of Greece’s engagement with the European Convention of Human Rights. Crime, Law and Social Change, Vol. 70, Issue. 1, p. 37.

    Berenskötter, Felix 2018. Deep theorizing in International Relations. European Journal of International Relations, Vol. 24, Issue. 4, p. 814.

    Baron, Ilan Zvi 2018. Falsifiability, the politics of evidence, and the importance of narratives. Critical Studies on Security, p. 1.

    Nabers, Dirk 2018. Towards International Relations beyond the mind. Journal of International Political Theory, p. 175508821881291.

    Mälksoo, Maria 2018. The Transitional Justice and Foreign Policy Nexus: The Inefficient Causation of State Ontological Security-Seeking. International Studies Review,

    Stojković, Dejan and Glišić, Miroslav 2018. Serbia’s Military Neutrality: Is It Economically Beneficial?. Defence and Peace Economics, p. 1.

    Meissner, Richard 2017. Paradigms and Theories Influencing Policies in the South African and International Water Sectors. p. 131.

    Humphreys, Adam R C 2017. Causation, complexity, and the Concert: the pragmatics of causal explanation in International Relations. Journal of International Relations and Development, Vol. 20, Issue. 4, p. 717.

    Humphreys, Adam R C 2017. Introduction: problems of causation in world politics. Journal of International Relations and Development, Vol. 20, Issue. 4, p. 659.

    Betts, Alexander and Pilath, Angela 2017. The politics of causal claims: the case of environmental migration. Journal of International Relations and Development, Vol. 20, Issue. 4, p. 782.

    Guzzini, Stefano 2017. Militarizing politics, essentializing identities: Interpretivist process tracing and the power of geopolitics. Cooperation and Conflict, Vol. 52, Issue. 3, p. 423.

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Book description

World political processes, such as wars and globalisation, are engendered by complex sets of causes and conditions. Although the idea of causation is fundamental to the field of International Relations, what the concept of cause means or entails has remained an unresolved and contested matter. In recent decades ferocious debates have surrounded the idea of causal analysis, some scholars even questioning the legitimacy of applying the notion of cause in the study of International Relations. This book suggests that underlying the debates on causation in the field of International Relations is a set of problematic assumptions (deterministic, mechanistic and empiricist) and that we should reclaim causal analysis from the dominant discourse of causation. Milja Kurki argues that reinterpreting the meaning, aims and methods of social scientific causal analysis opens up multi-causal and methodologically pluralist avenues for future International Relations scholarship.


‘Cause is the central concept of any science, including human sciences. Yet, most IR scholars seem to assume that this is not the case, which explains in part the appalling state of the discipline. To paraphrase Kant, it is time to awaken IR scholars from their 'dogmatic slumber' by shifting the field of background discourse, as Kurki attempts to do here. Her brilliant book will no doubt make a huge contribution to the revival of cumulative research in world politics, peace and conflict studies and related fields.’

Heikki Patomäki - University of Helsinki

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