Pssst…. wanna read about bridging the gap between theory and policy?

The latest issue of International Studies Review is a special symposium on theory and practice in international relations.  Thomas Weiss and Anoulak Kittikhoun edited the special issue.  The goal, according to them:  This special presidential issue addresses the theory–practice question across major institutions and global challenges. First, what is the influence of scholars on institutions? ...

By , a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

The latest issue of International Studies Review is a special symposium on theory and practice in international relations.  Thomas Weiss and Anoulak Kittikhoun edited the special issue.  The goal, according to them

This special presidential issue addresses the theory–practice question across major institutions and global challenges. First, what is the influence of scholars on institutions? What accounts for influence or the lack thereof? What type of future engagement should exist for scholars on these institutions? Second, what are acceptable theoretical approaches to a given global challenge? What are the existing policies and practices, and do they coincide with dominant scholarly approaches? What relationship would be most useful between theory and practice on any issue?... [T]hese pages explore the impacts of scholars on policymaking and institutions as well as the limitations of theory in responding to global challenges. Stereotypes obfuscate the complex reality that scholarship matters.

The whole issue is a real treat, including great articles by Bruce Jentleson and Ely Ratner on how to bridge the scholar/policymaker gap, Ann Florini on international relations theory and the rise of Cina and India, Roland Paris on failed and failing states, Elizabeth DeSombre on global environmental politics, Andrew Hurrell on global governance, and some zombie fanatic yours truly on targeted economic sanctions

The latest issue of International Studies Review is a special symposium on theory and practice in international relations.  Thomas Weiss and Anoulak Kittikhoun edited the special issue.  The goal, according to them

This special presidential issue addresses the theory–practice question across major institutions and global challenges. First, what is the influence of scholars on institutions? What accounts for influence or the lack thereof? What type of future engagement should exist for scholars on these institutions? Second, what are acceptable theoretical approaches to a given global challenge? What are the existing policies and practices, and do they coincide with dominant scholarly approaches? What relationship would be most useful between theory and practice on any issue?… [T]hese pages explore the impacts of scholars on policymaking and institutions as well as the limitations of theory in responding to global challenges. Stereotypes obfuscate the complex reality that scholarship matters.

The whole issue is a real treat, including great articles by Bruce Jentleson and Ely Ratner on how to bridge the scholar/policymaker gap, Ann Florini on international relations theory and the rise of Cina and India, Roland Paris on failed and failing states, Elizabeth DeSombre on global environmental politics, Andrew Hurrell on global governance, and some zombie fanatic yours truly on targeted economic sanctions

This looks like it should be a great way to get policymakers interested in the academic study of world politics, and vice versa.  Of course, to be useful, it helps to be able to access the articles in the first place.  And since all of these essays appear to be subscriber-only, it looks like this is yet another brilliant self-inflicted wound demonstrating how academic journals guarantee their continued irrelevance in the policymaking world by hiding behind a friggin’ paywall the bridging will be mostly on the academic side of the ledger. 

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where he is the co-director of the Russia and Eurasia Program. Twitter: @dandrezner

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