Interpretivism in International Relations (IIR) is a working group of the British International Studies Association (BISA). It was formed in 2012 and offers a forum within which scholars and research students in International Relations, Politics, History, Law, Sociology, and cognate disciplines can meet to discuss their ideas, present their work, and contribute to joint publications. Its core objective is to support and advance conversations about how to ‘interpret’ world politics in its various manifestations. It seeks to foster methodological debate and innovations in the study of meanings, identities and ideas through various empirical approaches, such as discourse analysis, narrative history and ethnography, and by critically probing the role of theory and concepts in how we interpret an already interpreted world.

While this agenda lends itself more readily to hermeneutical and critical approaches and to scholarly work that is sensitive to socio-political context and the positionality of the researcher, our working group is epistemologically open. As such, rather than defining ‘interpretivist’ research agendas primarily in contrast to ‘positivism’, Interpretivism in International Relations hopes to foster creative conversations across camps. It also is committed to work that engages public policy debates and demonstrates the value of interpretive approaches to practitioners.

As well as drawing on our core membership, the convenors will actively cooperate with neighbouring BISA working groups when devising conference panels, workshops and conferences. To become a member of our working group, you first need to become a member of BISA. Please visit the BISA website for more information. All working group members will receive our newsletters and invitations to our events at the BISA annual conference and beyond. If you are curious to find out more, please sign up to our mailing list below.

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