The fifth debate and the emergence of complex international relations theory: Notes on the application of complexity theory to the study of international life

Emilian Kavalski

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

91 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The climate of post-Cold-War interactions remains uncertain. Rather than a transitory stage, the resilience of the pervasive randomness of international life has challenged the dominant frameworks for the study of world politics. Some commentators have therefore advocated the infusion of international relations theory with the conjectures of complexity theory. This article brings together the claims of the different proponents of such intersection and suggests the emergence of complex international relations theory. Although it requires further critical elaboration, the claim here is that this theory outlines the fifth debate in the study of international life and proffers intriguing heuristic devices that both challenge conventional wisdom and provoke analytical imaginations. It is also possible that hard imaginative thinking has not increased so as to keep pace with the expansion and complication of human societies and organisations. That is the darkest shadow upon the hopes of mankind.          HG Wells (1945, 34).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-454
Number of pages20
JournalCambridge Review of International Affairs
Volume20
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations

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