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CAIS Brownbag Seminar: Brieg POWELL – Multiplicity of the Social and Temporal: How Multiplicity, IR, and Historical Sociology Can Help Each Other.

A Department of Politics seminar
Date7 November 2018
Time13:00 to 14:15
PlaceAmory A239C

This article seeks to develop ‘multiplicity’ in ways that would enhance enquiry in both International Relations (IR) and historical sociology. The international has often been a monochrome space in both IR and historical sociology, populated exclusively by states that comprehend only a perpetual, Eurocentric present. However, establishing a dialogue between multiplicity, IR, and historical sociology promises to enrich multiplicity and the two disciplines alike. First, multiplicity has the potential to make traditional IR and historical sociology more sensitive to the plurality of social forms in the international, offering an alternative to methodological nationalism and revealing the social diversity of the international. Yet, to this end, multiplicity itself
must be more attuned to the social plurality of international relations. Second, multiplicity and IR can learn from historical sociology’s insights regarding temporalities, helping IR (in particular) to avoid ahistorical readings of international relations. Social processes weave together multiple layers of time – short and long, ‘deep’ and recent – into tapestries of ‘events’, whilst actors frequently invoke deep history in narratives legitimising their actions. Drawing on a study of local and global actors during the Syrian Civil War, this article reveals that social and temporal multiplicities may be (but not necessarily are) just as important in a given context as the multiplicity of nation-states


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