A rival Enlightenment? critical international theory in historical mode

Devetak, Richard (2014) A rival Enlightenment? critical international theory in historical mode. International Theory, 6 3: 417-453. doi:10.1017/S1752971914000128

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Author Devetak, Richard
Title A rival Enlightenment? critical international theory in historical mode
Journal name International Theory   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1752-9727
Publication date 2014-11-01
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1017/S1752971914000128
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 6
Issue 3
Start page 417
End page 453
Total pages 37
Place of publication Cambridge, United Kingdom
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Language eng
Formatted abstract
This article proposes an understanding of critical international theory (CIT) as an historical rather than philosophical mode of knowledge. To excavate this historical mode of theorizing it offers an alternative account of CIT’s intellectual sources. While most accounts of critical international theory tend to focus on inheritances from Kant, Marx and Gramsci, or allude in general terms to debts to the Frankfurt School and the Enlightenment, this is not always the case. Robert Cox, for example, has repeatedly professed intellectual debts to realism and historicism. The argument advanced here builds on Cox by situating CIT in a longer intellectual heritage that extends from Renaissance humanism and passes through Absolutist historiography before reaching Enlightenment civil histories, including Vico’s history of civil institutions. The critical element in this intellectual heritage was the formation of a secular political historicism critically disposed to metaphysical claims based on moral philosophies. By recovering this neglected inheritance of criticism, we can articulate not only a critical theory to rival problem-solving theories, but propose a conception of theory as a historical mode of knowledge that rivals philosophical modes yet remains critical by questioning prevailing intellectual assumptions in International Relations theory.
Keyword Critical theory
Intellectual history
Renaissance humanism
Giambattista Vico
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Political Science and International Studies Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 8 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Tue, 28 Oct 2014, 02:47:52 EST by Bronwyn Clare Crook on behalf of School of Political Science & Internat'l Studies