In his writings on the topic of war, Carl von Clausewitz masterfully combined practical insight with theoretical reflection. His analysis of the intimate relationship between war and politics had and still has a profound impact on military practice and on political science scholarship alike. It is thus surprising that when scholars in the political science subfield of International Relations (IR) recently turned to political practices as an object of study, they simply ignored the Prussian General. In his presentation, Wille will argue that they did so to their own detriment. As he will demonstrate, Clausewitz’ writings on war offer valuable insights into the practices of international relations. To clarify what Clausewitz can contribute to the so-called “practice turn in IR”, Wille will offer an interpretation of his theory of war as a theory of practice. He will then illustrate the analytical potential of such a theory of practice through a discussion of what Clausewitzians have written about the Vietnam War. Wille will conclude by arguing that Clausewitz can help connect the practice turn in IR, which in its current form largely builds on constructivist theorizing, to the realist tradition of international thought.

Tobias Wille is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Global Fellow (Postdoctoral Research Fellow) at the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies. His work is in the fields of International Relations Theory and International Political Sociology. In his current research, he explores the changing relationship between diplomacy and warfare from a practice-theoretical perspective. He is also working on a book manuscript that traces the history of Kosovo’s engagement with the world of diplomacy and aims to theorize how diplomatic practices configure state agency. Tobias Wille holds a MA in Political Science from the University of Munich, a MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a PhD in Political Science from Goethe University Frankfurt. His writings have been published or are forthcoming, amongst others, in International Studies QuarterlyInternational Theory, and the Journal of International Relations and Development.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

1302 International Affairs


Advance registration via the Columbia/SIPA Calendars