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Evaluation – Whiskey & Worldwide Relations Principle


Whiskey & International Relations Theory
By Patrick Thaddeus Jackson and Daniel Nexon
Podcast, ongoing since 5 February 2020

‘Welcome to Whiskey & Worldwide Relations, the place two middle-aged teachers drink whiskey and discuss IR concept; it truly is simply what the title says’. That is how episode 9 of the podcast Whiskey & International Relations Theory begins. The podcast is produced by Patrick Thaddeus Jackson and Daniel H. Nexon, two of essentially the most prolific students in North American Worldwide Relations (IR) concept. They established the podcast in early 2020 to enhance extra practice-driven IR podcasts, resembling Un-diplomatic, with a theory-oriented various. Nevertheless, the beginning of the podcast turned out to be very well timed for a well known purpose: Whereas Whiskey & Worldwide Relations Principle was launched pre-pandemic, episode 3 was already recorded below lockdown. Since then, most of our instructing, analysis and life has turned (largely) on-line. Blogs, video calls, on-line seminars and podcasts have change into second pores and skin, and have became core assets for the transfer to distant schooling, collaboration and communication. For positive, makes an attempt to ascertain on-line platforms for IR students, college students and practitioners are removed from new – and each Jackson and Nexon have been among the many pioneers within the subject. Nexon, for instance, is the founding father of The Duck of Minerva, which has change into one of the vital profitable IR blogs.

For greater than 20 years, each convenors have printed extensively on IR concept, usually in collaboration. Their joint contributions embrace work on relationalism and makes an attempt to map current developments in IR concept (see, for instance, Jackson and Nexon 1999; 2009). The concept behind Whiskey & Worldwide Relations Principle is to proceed this dialog. The podcast (re)introduces some classical books and articles in IR concept, and offers a platform for current debates. Fifteen episodes have been printed as of February 2021, protecting a various vary of authors and contributions, resembling Kenneth Waltz (ep. 1-2), Cynthia Enloe (ep. 3-4), Alexander Wendt (ep. 5-6), Yaqin Qin (ep. 7-8), John Ruggie (ep. 11), Susan Strange (ep. 12), David Campbell (ep. 13-14), and J. Ann Tickner (ep. 15) in addition to the controversy on ‘Race and Securitization Theory’ (ep. 9-10). As addressing all episodes would exceed this brief assessment, we give attention to Jackson and Nexon’s exemplary discussions of 1 monograph – Kenneth Waltz’s Principle of Worldwide Politics – and the advert hoc panel on ‘Race and Securitization Principle’. We consider these 4 episodes encapsulate effectively the strengths and weaknesses of the podcast in addition to its potentialities to method complicated and contentious debates.

Studying from the Previous: Waltz’s Principle of Worldwide Politics

The primary two episodes cowl Kenneth Waltz’s 1979 monograph Theory of International Politics. Why did Jackson and Nexon begin their podcast with Waltz? As they argue at first of the first episode, ‘Waltz is to IR, what Talcott Parsons is to sociology: it’s fairly obscure what occurred within the subject […] with out understanding Principle of Worldwide Politics’ (ep. 1, at 9:40). Nevertheless, regardless of its canonical standing, Waltz’s contribution figures normally as a strawman, and there are literally not so many ‘Waltzians’ within the subject. Furthermore, as Jackson and Nexon claimed in an earlier publication, ‘Waltz’s method to concept and theorizing was grossly misunderstood’ (Jackson and Nexon 2013, 15, emphasis within the unique). The podcast due to this fact presents a chance to revisit, reread and reinterpret Principle of Worldwide Politics. After brief and concise lectures on the creator and context of the guide, Jackson and Nexon rigorously introduce and talk about every of the 9 chapters. It’s right here the place one of many largest strengths of the podcast performs out as they reconstruct the principle arguments of Waltz in dialogue with one another. Their dialogue operates primarily on the extent of inner critique. Jackson and Nexon search to current a ‘honest’ evaluation of Waltz’s work, together with its flaws and contradictions, but additionally spotlight its contributions to anchoring debates about concept – and the broader philosophy of social science – within the core of IR. Jackson and Nexon do an excellent job in displaying how the textual content formed them as students and the sphere of IR extra usually. This self-reflexive dialogue makes the podcast significantly fascinating from an academic perspective because it offers a window into processes behind the printed article and exhibits how concepts develop and alter over time. The episode then concludes by situating the guide within the context of newer developments in worldwide affairs resembling US-China relations.

Participating with the Current: The Debate on Race and Securitization Principle

The versatile nature of podcasts, with their low manufacturing price, fast turnaround, vast outreach and the potential for inviting different company and consultants to affix, make them ideally suited to interact and take part in ongoing debates. Breaking with their regular format of discussing classics, episodes 9 and 10 are an excellent instance of the medium’s prospects to method present points and debates inside IR. Constructed across the dialog between Jackson, Nexon and their three company Jarrod Hayes, Nawal Mustafa and Robbie Shilliam, the 2 episodes current a well timed and nuanced dialogue and evaluation of the so-called securitization and racism debate. The talk was triggered by an preliminary article in Security Dialogue, accusing securitization concept of being intrinsically racist, and the following replies in the identical journal in addition to fallouts on totally different social media platforms resembling Twitter and Fb. The podcast format permits the dialogue to flee the superficial and limiting 280-character disputes on Twitter, thus offering a refreshing change of tempo. Jackson, Nexon, and their company are capable of slowly work by means of the articles and, maybe extra importantly, have interaction with the underlying discussions and points.

Episode 9 begins with a reconstruction of the controversy, highlighting among the core points to assist higher perceive the tensions and fallout. That is then adopted by brief interventions by the three company, with every one providing additional background by situating the conversations inside wider traditions of thought. That is essential as North American IR concept students seem to not be too acquainted with each securitization concept and significant race concept. Shilliam elaborates on anti-racist thought, specifically on the varied and fractal nature of the Black radical custom and emphasizes the significance of generosity in educational debates. Hayes contextualizes securitization concept, together with its try and de-essentialize the idea of safety, and discusses the way it helps us to grasp constructions of ‘regular’ politics. That is complemented by Mustafa, a former PhD pupil turned anti-racist activist, who displays on the nexus between academia and activism and the chance of depoliticizing Black radical traditions of thought. These contributions enable the podcast to set itself aside from what was turning into a really partisan debate. By situating the accusations raised in opposition to securitization concept inside its evolution and wider discussions on race, white supremacy, anti-racist activism, the dialog between Jackson, Nexon, Shilliam, Mustafa and Hayes is ready to transfer past the shortcomings of the preliminary piece and its responses. The interventions suggest and carry out generosity, spotlight the significance of educational requirements and invite us to interact with a much-needed dialog on race and racism inside IR theorizing. But, additionally they level to the tasks of journal editors and the pitfalls and risks of social media in educational debates.  

Conclusion: Trying into the Future

In conclusion, Whiskey & Worldwide Relations Principle presents – from the attitude of IR concept – an essential addition to present publication channels. In fact, a podcast has its advantages and pitfalls and people must be considered. A podcast ought to neither be seen as a alternative for established channels nor as an answer to all the issues of academia. As an example, a radical engagement with the unique texts by means of studying and in-class dialogue stays important. Sooner or later, with additional proliferation of this format, there may additionally be the hazard that podcasts with decrease high quality may emerge the place college students may face difficulties in evaluating them. Nevertheless, we consider that the podcast makes an essential contribution in two regards: addressing the difficulty of canon formation and making IR concept accessible. First, the top quality of the podcast shouldn’t be solely because of the well-established interaction between the 2 convenors but additionally to their try and stretch the canon of IR concept. It is very important acknowledge right here that the podcast’s main viewers is situated inside North American IR. What may be on the margins of North American IR may be extra acknowledged in different components of the world, and vice versa. But, we nonetheless consider that the podcast is of curiosity additionally for European and non-Western audiences. Importantly, the query of viewers additionally touches the politics of canon formation within the self-discipline. We concur with the convenors that it’s essential to revisit the classics right here and there.

We additionally agree that IR concept has by now a variety of classics, not solely in what’s normally thought-about as ‘the mainstream’ but additionally inside its extra ‘essential’ corners. Whereas it would sound promising, significantly from a essential perspective, to depart the classics behind, this may additionally include the hazard of throwing the infant out with the bathwater and producing a self-discipline with none (unfastened) sense of custom or core as a typical web site for debates. In the long run, nobody can escape the politics of canon formation – this contains by now additionally feminist or decolonial thought in IR. Relatively, it appears essential to us to mirror on the politics of canon formation and the way each (new) canon excludes and contains, and produces (new) hierarchies and silences. Lastly, from an academic perspective, we consider that the podcast with its detailed evaluation and contextualization of the totally different texts mentioned could be very appropriate for hybrid instructing as a result of it offers an excellent introduction to superior theories of Worldwide Relations for each graduate and undergraduate college students. As such, Whiskey & Worldwide Relations Principle additionally presents a big effort to interrupt down the paywall in world schooling.


Jackson, Patrick Thaddeus, and Daniel H. Nexon. 1999. ‘Relations Earlier than States: Substance, Course of and the Research of World Politics’. European Journal of Worldwide Relations 5 (3): 291–332.

———. 2009. ‘Paradigmatic Faults in Worldwide-Relations Principle’. Worldwide Research Quarterly 53 (4): 907–30.

———. 2013. ‘I Can Has IR Principle?’ The Duck of Minerva Working Paper 1.2013.

Additional Studying on E-Worldwide Relations