International Relations Theory I–3rd Review Assignment Name Department /NPM Resource : Andhyta Firselly Utami : International Relations

/ 0906550373 : Andrew Linklater, “Historical Sociology” in Burchill S.,, Theories of International Relations, 4th Edition. (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), pp.136-157

Historical Sociology: A ‘Partially’ Holistic Tradition in the Study of International Relations As a tradition of research, historical sociology focuses on two keywords: structure and change. Borrowing Kelly’s (2003) definition, historical sociology is ‘devoted to understanding the character and effects of large-scale structures and fundamental processes of change’. Therefore, aiming for explanatory, historical sociologists examine and investigate the relationship between grand-structure and changes in smaller interacting units. Be it from feudalism to capitalism (Karl Marx) or from traditional to legal forms of domination (Max Weber), replacements of world structure become major issues within this study. As also acknowledged in other literatures, Andrew Linklater is one of the prior international relations scholars who nurtures and develops critical theories in the science of international relations. In “Historical Sociology”, he tries to (1) explain the rise of historical sociology in the 19th century, (2) analyse influential approaches in 20th century thought, as well as (3) consider a different set of approaches that focused on broader parts. Departing from Weber’s six historical sociology traits, this review will criticize Linklater’s assertion and show how historical sociology is further linked with international relations science. Linklater points out ‘the great transformation of modernity’ which includes industrialization, democratization, etc. as the origin of European Sociology. This field of study, according to him, emerged in a very optimistic period of relative international stability. Differ from what early IR thinkers have, those of this era come to expect that the spread of progressing industry, along with commerce growth, would lead to perpetual peace. In describing various approaches of historical sociology later in the development, Linklater starts with the era when material power and systems of production were having the spotlight as 20th century’s major issues. Industrial capitalism is said to become so strong, having a causal relation with the expansion of state’s power, including its capacity and capability to take stronger decisions in both political and economical policies. Being greater than ever, states started to pursuit more advantages from one another. Thus, departing from Marx’s basic ideas of class differences, Wallerstein then sees the globe as capitalist world economy, distinguished by core, peripheral, and semi-peripheral positions.

He argues that states are regarded as instruments in global economic arrangements, where the great powers tend to create dependence of Third World countries. Anderson, on the other hand, pays more attention to the phenomenon of state-bourgeoisie alliance due to geopolitical rivalries between states leading to the transition from feudalism to capitalism. The tough relationship between the ‘political’ and ‘economic’ was on its onset. Mann also contributes to the study with his ‘IEMP model’ comprising ideological, economic, military and political power as the means of evolution in first states and empires. These first group of approaches relies on the relation between ‘four logics’: statebuilding, warfare, capitalism, and industrialization. However, several thinkers highlight the missing explanation about how multiple identities and loyalties facilitated developments of new polities (tribes, states, empires) with distinctive patterns of behavior. They decide to go beyond the term ‘sovereign state’, with analysis ranges over such diverse events such as ‘scale’ and ‘loyalty’ in a political institutions, levels of economic efficiency and competitiveness, innovations of technology, all which leads to the finding of ‘uneven growth’ of state powers. In this extent, historical and multicultural perspectives play quite a great a role in examining the phenomena. There comes, last but most distinguishing on the list, ‘morality and culture’ afterwards. Identities, norms, and values inevitably become concepts that—according to Linklater—influence the form of international structure. The sociology of morals was long recognized important. Interests, he argues, ‘are not formed in isolation from the normative structures; rather norms enter into their very constitution.’ Analyses of collective moral emotions provide an important rebuttal to the neo-realist belief that norms exercise minor influence in world politics. So far we can see that Linklater has provided insights about historical sociologists’ consideration upon impacts which is divided into as many as three things: material power and systems of production, culture and identity, also morality and emotions between human societies. Although Linklater demands for a higher analysis i.e. process sociology to integrate all of the concepts into a comprehensive and holistic theoretical synthesis, the writer believes that from the very first place the nature of these concepts are fundamentally different. To better understand the major ‘divisions’ in these historical sociology approaches, we may try to neatly categorize them using Alexander Wendt’s ‘four sociologies’ method in Social Theory of International Politics. Wendt provides an XY graph where each line is separated into two parts. The first pair of clusters is material-ideational. The materialists believe the most fundamental fact about society is the nature and organization of material forces, while the idealists hold nature and structure of social consciousness as the most fundamental fact about society. The second debate, on a whole new

dimension, was the relationship between agents and structures, individualism-holism. They disagree upon the ontological status of structure: individualism approves the idea that social scientific explanations should be reducible to the properties or interactions of independently existing individuals while holism is pessimist with this view and sees it as a part of construction of agents in causal and constitutive senses. Thenceforth, material, ideational, individualism, and holism are four main indicators that the writer will use in determining the contrasts between those notions.1 Now let us analyse to which quadrant each of historical sociology approaches fits. The first approach, power and state-centered, exhibits the character of holism-materialism. Anderson, Mann, and Wallerstein’s studies do not focus on individuals or ideas, they examine the prevailing different capabilities (comprising materials) between states and how that affects international structure. The second approach touching culture and identity fits better in the holism-idealism. Holism, because it stands on the level which polities are created, idea-lism because it nurtures ideas about how these polities are actually created at the first place. The last variety where morality and emotions become the focus can be fairly placed as individualism-idealism. Concepts like identity is attached and shaped by collective individuals, and is obviously a form of developed ideas within the society. Since the nature of these frameworks are fundamentally dissimilar from one another, the writer doubts and questions the form of ‘higher synthesis’ proposed by Linklater. In the writer’s opinion, a good theory should be based on one standpoint and concentrate to one viewpoint. Albeit, integration of concepts is always probable in the improvement. Within the study of historical sociology itself, referring to John M. Hubson in “The Historical Sociology of the State and the State of Historical Sociology in International Relations”, there are six main and unchangeable principles:2
1. The study of history is crucial as a means of problematizing and critically exploring the origins of modern domestic and international institutions and practices. It is interested in understanding the process of change, both between systems (systems change) and change within systems (intra-systemic change). 2. There is a special emphasis to 'multi-causality' (i.e. a multi-factor approach) which insists that social and political change can only be understood through the interaction of multiple forces. 3. Societies, states and international systems (both political and economic) are inherently linked. 4. It is impossible to talk of power actors such as states or classes as wholly autonomous and selfconstituting. The study acknowledges concept of partial autonomy. 5. Both societies and international politics are best understood as subject of 'immanent orders of

change' and discontinuity.

Alexander Wendt, Social Theory of International Politics, (Cambridge: University Press, 1999), pp.23-29 John M. Hobson in “The Historical Sociology of the State and the State of Historical Sociology in InternationalRelations”, in Review of International Political Economy, Vol. 5, No. 2 (NY: Taylor & Francis, Ltd., 1998), pp. 286-292 accessed from

6. Current socio-logical theories of the state are increasingly approaching a more traditional view of

the state as actor model, making it to be claimed as politically reductionist. The remaining question would be how historical sociology is finally connected with international relations science. According to John M. Hobson, there are four broad sources which open up a space for
historical sociology either explicitly or implicitly in IR: the growing interest in 'international systems change'; the desire to develop a critical theory of international relations; recent theoretical developments within IR; and finally, the explicit calling by some for a dialogue between IR and historical sociology. 3 These points were not present in Linklater’s assessment, which becomes the reason of the writer’s question all along the article. It is important to note that, according to Linklater, historical sociologists aim for high levels of intellectual synthesis, thenceforth inquires how specific concepts in International Relations can be assimilated into a high politics analysis. This premise becomes the justification to Linklater’s request for the theoretical synthesis and assimilation between those three approaches he elaborated, although, proven by Wandt’s quadrant, the characteristics of each approach is distinctively unalike. However, we should not be distracted to the fact that— again—it is structure and change that the study focuses on. As the only thing that remains unchanged is the change itself, the writer believes that historical sociology is still very open to future enrichments as well as developments.


Ibid., page 296

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