Inside the International Relations Ivory Tower

by Erik Voeten on January 3, 2012 · 14 comments

in Blogs

William and Mary’s Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations has just released the U.S. portion of its its fourth survey on Teaching, Research, and International Policy (TRIP). The unedited results are here and Foreign Policy’s write-up with pretty graphs and analysis here.

The survey is best known for producing rankings of undergraduate, master’s, and PhD programs in international affairs. As usual with rankings like this, ones appreciation depends on where one sits (Georgetown ranks 5th, 1st, and 14th respectively, which makes me happy although this has been pretty constant across surveys and rankings).

The surveys are also interesting for the insights they provide on how IR scholars view the world. Some of these are not so surprising (IR scholars, especially liberals, don’t much like George W. Bush. Actually, they don’t really like any recent U.S. president). Some findings might be surprising to non IR scholars (e.g. IR scholars by and large don’t like military interventions). Perhaps the most surprising “inside baseball” finding is that a plurality of IR scholars now identify themselves as “Constructivists.” Unfortunately, the graphic and text from Foreign Policy (see below) fail to mention that 26% of IR scholars chose the option “I do not use paradigmatic analysis” (I guess “Non-Paradigmatic” would look even less catchy than “Constructivist” in the graphic). Still, the relative rise of constructivism and the demise of realism is noteworthy, especially given the ability of realism to explain just about anything of note that has happened over the past 500 years with just a few variables.

Anyway, there is lots of interest to browse in the survey, including identification of scholars who do the most interesting research (congrats to my friend and former GWU colleague Marty Finnemore). Also look at this critique by another former colleague, American University’s School of International Service dean Jim Goldgeier, who believes that the survey wrongly focuses on political scientists only. Enjoy and discuss.

Edit: link corrected.

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