Critical methods in International Relations: The politics of techniques, devices and acts1
596 - 619
European Journal of International Relations
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Methods have increasingly been placed at the heart of theoretical and empirical research in International Relations (IR) and social sciences more generally. This article explores the role of methods in IR and argues that methods can be part of a critical project if reconceptualized away from neutral techniques of organizing empirical material and research design. It proposes a two-pronged reconceptualization of critical methods as devices which enact worlds and acts which disrupt particular worlds. Developing this conceptualization allows us to foreground questions of knowledge and politics as stakes of method and methodology rather than exclusively of ontology, epistemology or theory. It also allows us to move away from the dominance of scientificity (and its weaker versions of systematicity and rigour) to understand methods as less pure, less formal, messier and more experimental, carrying substantive political visions. © The Author(s) 2013.