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Title: Does Death Matter in IR? the Possibilities of Counter-Methodology
Authors: 石之瑜
Shih, Chih-Yu
Keywords: social constructivism;Mencius;Alexander Wendt;hunch;death;methodology
Date: 2006-09
Issue Date: 2016-10-25 16:12:04 (UTC+8)
Abstract: Mainstream international relations (IR) scholarship does not deal with human death, because human death is not about analysis at the state or systemic level. This paper develops a counter-methodology that treats human death as ontological death, referring to the silencing of a meaning system. Counter-methodology is a kind of methodology that helps one understand oneself from the perspective of those one studies. Counter-methodology assumes that identities, as well as the personhood of theoreticians and those they study, are mutually constituted. IR scholarship does not acknowledge that theoreticians intervene in the decision-making process of decision-makers, or vice versa. This paper uses the classic wisdom of Mencius, a wise man of the Chinese Warring States Period, to illustrate how a social science theory on policymaking can kill the agency of policymakers. In short, scientific explanation of a particular behavior denies the possibility that policymakers can make policy abiding by completely different (i.e., non-universal) decision-making rules (or laws of behavior) if different decision contexts are triggered. Counter-methodology allows the theoretician to reflect upon the undecidable decision contexts by bringing in various notions of death that mainstream IR scholarship closes off. The paper also introduces the ”hunch” as an epistemology that sheds light on the undecidable (i.e., ontologically fluid) decision contexts. Accordingly, even realist practitioners and theoreticians, who dismiss the deaths of civilians in the enemy state or soldiers of their own nation as being insignificant, could possibly slip into the humanist track, which is unknown to them in their work but is nonetheless familiar Counter-methodology helps them shift decision contexts and develop a perspective on ontological death. This philosophical exercise does not require realist thinkers to jettison realism. On the contrary, this paper aims to accredit the legitimacy of realism by reducing it to just one of a number of different meaning systems. This will lighten the pressure imposed by the teleological hegemony of state-centered analysis. Realists can remain realists, or they can move on. This freedom of movement enables them to recognize different decision contexts and appreciate the meaning of death.
Relation: Issues & Studies,42(3),227-256
Data Type: article
Appears in Collections:[Issues & Studies] 期刊論文

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