Christian Bueger

The Anthropology of Internationalized Politics

delmenhorstThat Anthropology and International Relations (IR) share a range of common interests is increasingly becoming more obvious. In consequence there is a thriving debate about concepts, methods and empirical observations between both disciplines. A growing number of researchers adopts the ethnographic spectrum of methods to study internationalized politics, ranging from bureucracies such as the police, to development work or international organizations and global governance. On June 10-12th I attended a workshop hosted by the University of Bremen and held at the Hanse Wissenschaftskolleg in Delmenhorst in which a range of forthcoming studies at the intersection of anthropology and IR were discussed. The organizers phrased the rationale for the workshop well, when they argued that “The promise of an anthropology of internationalized politics then is that the enlarged empirical basis and an enlarged theoretical language would allow for new theoretical growth. It would be based on an enlarged empirical experience (Erfahrung) and not just derived from conceptual discussion alone or from theoretical deduction that are then checked against a mass of numerical data. Such a research approach would start out with an enlarged understanding of what empirical data is, and it would try to interpret it with an enlarged theoretical vocabulary.”

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