In a recent article in the Review of International Studies, Stephen Hobden does a great service by initiating a critical evaluation of the potential for historical sociology in international relations theory. Hobden considers seminal studies by Michael Mann, Theda Skocpol, Charles Tilly, and Immanuel Wallerstein, and concludes that each is inadequate for building an historical sociology of the international system. Articles such as Hobden's are particularly important in international relations, where many major theories are dependent upon the assumptions and methods of other disciplines. From time to time, we need to ask, in a comparative manner, just how useful such methods and assumptions really are.
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