Theory of world politics: assessing the potential for transfer

Theory of world politics:
assessing the potential for transfer

Lebedeva M.M.,

MGIMO University, Moscow, Russia,

elibrary_id: 250953 | ORCID: 0000-0003-4162-0807 | RESEARCHER_ID: C-2309-2013

Gavrilenko N.V.,

MGIMO University, Moscow, Russia,

elibrary_id: 1209171 | ORCID: 0009-0006-1187-0134 |

Zakharov D.S.,

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federaion, Moscow, Russia,

Kucherov M.A.,

Institute for International Studies, MGIMO University, Moscow, Russia,

Article received: 2023.08.27. Accepted: 2023.12.20

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2024.02.04

For citation:

Lebedeva M.M., Gavrilenko N.V., Zakharov D.S., Kucherov M.A. Theory of world politics: assessing the potential for transfer. – Polis. Political Studies. 2024. No. 2. P. 38-49. (In Russ.). EDN: PPKLMV

The reported study was funded by Russian Science Foundation grant № 23-18-01045. The authors express their gratitude to Т.А. Alekseeva and M.V. Kharkevich for the suggestion to consider the possibility of exporting theoretical concepts from international studies to other subject areas, as well as to D.M. Kurbatov and P.A. Chipizubova for their valuable suggestions and comments.


In international studies, there are many borrowings from other disciplines at the level of metaphors, concepts, etc. In this regard, the question is raised about a possible reverse transfer, i.e. from the sphere of world politics to other scientific spheres, including not only socio-humanitarian, but also the natural sciences. The article analyzes a successful example of such a transfer given by R. Axelrod in the early 2000s, as well as subsequent attempts to theoretically validate the conditions for export from the field of international studies to other areas. Two approaches have been identified. Within the framework of the first approach, it is proposed to create an interdisciplinary theory, since international relations are able to integrate various humanitarian and social disciplines. The second approach allows for a “pluralistic” and “blurred” subject field of the theory of international relations, in which various theoretical and methodological lines can coexist and enter into discussion with each other (societal multiplicity), rather than remain isolated. It provides opportunities for its “export” to other scientific fields. A critical analysis of these approaches allows us to conclude that in both the first and second cases, the political focus of international research is lost. The article substantiates the subject area of world politics as the exertion of political influence in the international arena by state and non-state actors. Based on this, the authors of the article put forward a third direction. The essence of it is that the search for the possibility of exporting from international research to other scientific fields does not lie in the creation of an interdisciplinary theory, and not in the formation of a “blurred” subject field that ensures “societal multiplicity”, but in the similarity of the situations under consideration. The authors show that the degree of similarity of situations depends on a number of factors, including the behavior of actors/objects being in conditions that are relatively the same. Examples are given by comparing situations and theoretical concepts of international relations and world politics with situations and concepts in other scientific fields - meteorology, medicine, ethology. At the same time, the place of the “political” in other spheres is occupied by the dominant object/factor.

international studies multidisciplinarity, theory of international relations, societal multiplicity, world politics fragmentation, international studies transferring potential, political science, IR studies.


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Content No. 2, 2024

See also:

Alekseyeva T.A., Lebedeva M.M.,
What Is Happening to the Theory of International Relations. – Polis. Political Studies. 2016. No1

Lebedeva M.M., Zinovieva E.S.,
Methods of neuroscience in studying world politics. – Polis. Political Studies. 2023. No5

Ilyin M.V.,
Servitore dei Due Padroni (At the Intersection of the Competences of Political Science and International Studies). – Polis. Political Studies. 2004. No5

Konyshev V.N., Sergunin A.A.,
International relations theory: on the threshold of new «Great Debates»?. – Polis. Political Studies. 2013. No2

Voskressenski A.D.,
World regional studies and the prospects of non-western (sinocized) international relations (IR) theory. – Polis. Political Studies. 2013. No6



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