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Structure, norms and normative theory in a re-defined English school : accepting Buzan's challenge.

Williams, John (2011) 'Structure, norms and normative theory in a re-defined English school : accepting Buzan's challenge.', Review of international studies., 37 (3). 1235-1253 .


This article looks at the significance of Barry Buzan's 2004 reformulation of the English School from the perspective of the normative dimension of English School theory. Picking up a challenge that Buzan set, but which has largely gone unanswered, for those who see normative theory as a key aspect of the English School's contribution, the article assesses three possible responses. It rejects a stance denying the relevance of Buzan's approach to normative theory and is dissatisfied with a second line that distinguishes methodologically between Buzan's social structural theorising and an approach to normative theory that draws principally on political theory. Instead, it argues for the inherent normativity of Buzan's position because of its reliance on values, arguing that many of the analytical benefits of Buzan's approach can also be deployed normatively because of the way he highlights contested and competing dynamics in play at different times and at different levels. The article suggests that this has the potential to revive pluralism as a normative position in the English School in a way that retains and extends the enhanced analytical power that Buzan's reformulation offers.

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Publisher statement:Copyright © British International Studies Association 2011. This paper has been published by Cambridge University Press in "Review of international studies" (37: 3 (2011) 1235-1253)
Record Created:20 Jul 2012 12:50
Last Modified:20 Jul 2012 14:53

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