Reus-Smit, Christian (2003). International relations. In Ian McAllister, Steve Dowrick and Riaz Hassan (Ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of the Social Sciences in Australia (pp. 358-373) Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
This chapter explains the nature and development of international relations as a social science in Australia since the mid-1980s. After briefly characterising the field prior to ‘the harsh international climate of the 1980s’, I examine the intellectual ferment that erupted in the discipline internationally as a consequence of the second Cold War, and the impact this had on the Australian study of international relations. I then turn to developments after the Cold War, again placing Australian inquiries into the context of broader shifts in international debate. This discussion is divided into two parts, the first addressing the immediate post-Cold War period, the second examining developments in the past five years. Throughout, my analysis is restricted to the discipline of international relations, that field concerned with the nature and origins of ‘contemporary interstate politics’ (Bull 1972). It excludes consideration of international law, economics and public policy, and touches on area and country studies only in passing. It locates the work of key strategic-studies specialists within debates about international relations, but does not provide a comprehensive overview of Australian scholarship in that field.