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By Stephanie Lawson

This wide-ranging, traditionally trained research examines the profession of the tradition idea and similar notions of context in comparative and foreign politics, tracing connections during the disciplines of anthropology and historical past in addition to via matters in nationalism and democracy. specific realization is paid to the way tradition as context is implicated in essentially the most tricky dichotomies in international politics, in addition to to how tradition will be re-conceptualized in a concept of cosmopolitan pluralism.

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92 But others took a more sceptical attitude. One critic argued that ‘culture’ was a fad sweeping the literature on IR, security studies and international economics, and that although most could grasp the rather mundane point that culture is certainly a factor, the idea that it is the principle engine driving world affairs does not stand up to scrutiny. 94 But as one commentator warns, it is not always clear what strategic culture can explain and how it is supposed to explain it. 95 There is always a danger of falling victim to the power of our own constructions, and of turning our own subjective images into stereotypes about others.

The relationship of contextualism to historicism is certainly a close one. 24 In many anthropological analyses, contextualism is certainly treated as a synonym Context and Contextualism 41 for relativism and contrasted with the opposing conceptual pole of universalism. 25 This illustrates the almost inescapable tendency in the human sciences, observed earlier, to analyse the world through dichotomies, polarities, oppositions or dualisms. At least one purpose of a contextualist approach in the history of ideas is to provide an antidote to the crimes of anachronism.

77 Others saw rationalism more generally as deficient in the treatment of culture. 80 But what kept ‘culture’ out of the realm of the international in the highly influential school of structural realism was the construction of the discipline of international relations itself in the ‘third image’. By confining it to the domestic sphere, the role of culture was left for comparative political scientists to work out, and not for the students of international anarchy operating with the ‘third image’.

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