Talk: “The Disciplines of Boundaries and the Boundaries of Disciplines: (International) Politics, (International) Law and the Use of (Inter-)Disciplinarity”
Filipe dos Reis
University of Erfurt, Germany
12.30 p.m., Tuesday, 07 March 2017
A-130, FEASS Building
This talk aims to reconstruct the limits, possibilities and politics of interdisciplinary research. In order to examine this, I use the relationship of International Relations towards the ’empirical’ field of international law and the academic discipline of International Law as a prism. Although interdisciplinarity is usually presented as something highly desirable, I argue that it remains unclear what interdisciplinarity ‘really’ means as different encounters between disciplines are based on different visions of interdisciplinarity. In other words, different disciplinary hierarchies are at play. In order to foster this argument, I focus in a first step on three important – yet differently operating – traditional encounters between International Relations and International Law: (1) Quincy Wright’s interwar attempt to study both, International Relations and International Law, as a ‘policy science’ or ‘social science’, (2) political realism in International Relations and legal positivism in International Law as occupying the blind spots of ‘the other’ in the aftermath of the Second World War – and pushing International Relations successively away from political science; and (3) the (neo)liberal exchange between IR and IL since the mid-1980s. In a second step, I introduce then contributions from critical scholars from both IL and IR, which point to the difficulties of inter-‘disciplinary’ dialogue and point to the need to ‘translate’ between different fields of knowledge. In a third and final, step I discuss then briefly what ‘interdisciplinarity as translation’ between critical scholars might mean and which kind of common interest might come up. I focus here on the role of and rule through legal expertise as well as the relationship of law and politics beyond ‘the international’.
Filipe dos Reis is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Political Practices and Orders as well as a research associate at the Faculty of Law, Economics and Social Sciences, both at the University of Erfurt, Germany. He holds a MA degree in Political Science, Economics and Modern History from Ludwig Maximilians University (LMU) Munich. His research focuses, among other subjects, on the intersection of international relations and international law and on social theory. Recent publications: Constructivism and the Politics of International Law, in: Oxford, Anne/Florian Hoffmann (eds.): The Oxford Handbook of the Theory of International Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016, 344-364 (together with Oliver Kessler); The power of legality, legitimacy and the (im)possibility of interdisciplinary research, in: Rajkovic, Nikolas/TanjaAalberts/Thomas Gammeltoft-Hansen (eds.): The Power of Legality: Practices of International Law and their Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016, 99-124 (together with Oliver Kessler).