The proposed research is an in-depth sociological investigation of the production of knowledge in the field of International Relations (IR) in the United Kingdom. Its main objective is to understand how social, institutional and individual factors affect the production of IR scholarship and IR teaching in the country, as well as the dispositions, perceptions, and practices of IR scholars and their students. The research is informed by the theoretical framework developed by sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, which approaches knowledge as both a kind of cultural production and a form of social practice, that are embedded in objective socio-economic and ideational structures, while also being the product of individual and group dispositions capable of novelty and dissent.
This praxeological approach allows the investigator to resort to a pluralist methodology, combining quantitative/statistical, historical, and thick ethnographic analysis, to investigate phenomena, structures, and processes that belong to three separate but interconnected levels of analysis: the systemic level of UK academia, the institutional level of departments of Politics and IR in the country, and the individual level of UK IR scholars and their post-graduate students. These levels will be investigated using a wide range of appropriate methods of inquiry, such as the collection of public data about educational policies and academic production, the analysis of responses to individual anonymous questionnaires, individual and group interviews, and on-site observations of academic practices and activities.
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