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Research Seminar | Pragmatist IR: Theory, Method, and the Case of the War on Terrorism

Monday February 13, 2023, from 12:00 to 13:30
Room 24.120 (First Floor). Mercè Rodoreda 24 building
Research seminar

Simon Frankel Pratt (University of Melbourne). ChairEva Michaels (IBEI)

Pragmatist social theory forms the basis for a small but growing body of research on international politics, because of its distinct approach to conceptualising action, change, and social relations. While pragmatism is a diverse body of philosophical thought, its common themes are a focus on practice over structure, on evolution, and an embodied view of the mind—one which incorporates technology and habit alongside conscious thought. In this talk, Simon Frankel Pratt presents a pragmatist approach to understanding normativity, and discusses how he used it as a foundation for analysing institutional change in the US’s security apparatus. The speaker presents the case of ‘targeted killing’ as an example of normative transformation. He finishes with some discussion of the principles and avenues of pragmatist social theory, highlighting the opportunities it offers students and scholars frustrated by the limits of existing approaches in the field.

Simon Frankel Pratt is a Lecturer in Political Science at the School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne. Prior to this he was a Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Studies, in the School of Sociology, Politics, and International Studies, University of Bristol, and a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow at the Mortara Center for International Studies, Georgetown University. He holds a PhD from the University of Toronto, where he has also been a sessional lecturer.

During the course 2022-23, IBEI has organised a series of research seminars, which normally take place once a week. Check the 2022-23 programme