<html><head /> <body> <META http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-16"><title>Toward an International Political Theology</title><meta name="keywords" content="toward,towards,international,political,theology,"><table style="font-family:Verdana; font-size:larger; " align="center" border="0" width="50%"><tbody><tr> <td style="background-color:silver; border-color:white; border-left-style:none; border-style:none; " width="730"><span style="font-family:Verdana; font-size:larger; ">Toward an International Political Theology</span></td> </tr> <tr> </tr> </tbody></table><br><table style="font-family:Verdana; font-size:medium; " align="center" bgcolor="white" border="0" width="50%"><tbody><tr> <td height="131" width="669"><span style="font-family:Verdana; font-size:x-small;"><strong>Editors Introduction</strong></span><span style="font-family:Verdana; "></span><span style="font-family:Verdana; font-size:x-small; "><IMG SRC="auth_kulbakova.jpg" WIDTH="80" HEIGHT="109" ALT="Vendulka Kubalkova" VSPACE="10" HSPACE="10" BORDER="0" ALIGN="right"> Religion and ethics has been somewhat overlooked in international relations (IR). In an attempt to tackle this neglect Vendulka Kub&#225;lkov&#225; (right) has created a new subfield called international political theology (IPT). In the same vein as international political economy (IPE), IPT looks at the growing need--post-globalization--for meaning, be that transcendental or secular, and tries to incorporate this very human reaction into IR studies.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-family:Verdana; font-size:x-small; ">Can international relations (IR) as a discipline contribute to the study of the worldwide resurgence of religion? This is a rather important question, since the new visibility of religions is taking place in an international context that is the primary domain of IR expertise. It is also one that has been overlooked by IR scholars. So far, the contribution of IR to the study of the resurgence of religion has been limited by the social-scientific and materialistic cast of the discipline: religion stands in sharp contrast to reason and is not to be taken seriously.</span><br><br><span style="font-family:Verdana; font-size:x-small; ">The interests of states are understood in the IR mainstream, particularly in the US, as exogenously given. Religions, however, are seen as institutions which do not conform to the territorial boundaries so essential to state-centric IR studies.</span><br><br><span style="font-size:x-small;"><strong>International political theology (IPT)</strong></span><br><A HREF="1596_500.ram" TARGET="_blank"><IMG src="1596_500Th.jpg" id="3222" type="3" align="left" width="102" height="102" name="" url="1596_500.ram"></A></span><span style="font-family:Verdana; font-size:x-small; ">I propose the creation of a new subfield called international political theology (IPT). It consciously rhymes with IPE (international political economy). IPE was intended at the time of its conception to respond to the neglect of economic factors in the IR discipline. Similarly, IPT seeks to correct another systematic omission in IR: the neglect of the role of religions, culture, ideas, ideologies and rules in social-science accounts of world affairs.</span><br><span style="font-family:Verdana; font-size:x-small; "><br> <span style="font-family:Verdana; font-size:x-small; ">As Robert Gilpin points out, international political economy extended the concerns of IR studies from the study of power to the study of wealth. In the same way, international political theology is to make a further extension of IR studies by embracing those discourses concerned with world affairs which search for, or claim to have found, a response--transcendental or secular--to the human need for meaning. Globalization, many scholars agree, brings in its wake an intensified human search for meaning that reaches beyond the restricted empirical existence of the here and now. Globalization may be one of the possible causes of the increased visibility of religions worldwide, and IPT is a response to this development.</span><br><br><span style="font-size:x-small;"><strong>The third debate</strong></span><br><span style="font-family:Verdana; font-size:x-small; ">Let's look at these issues in four sections. First, by way of introduction, let's examine the "third debate" in IR and religion. This focus shows just how much the work of postmodernists, poststructuralists and other critics of positivism in the third debate drew, perhaps inadvertently, on religious sources, preparing IR audiences for what Edward Luttwak referred to as the overcoming of the stereotyped "learned repugnance to contend with all that is religion."</span><br><br><span style="font-size:x-small;"><strong>Ontology</strong></span><br><A HREF="1596_501.ram" TARGET="_blank"><IMG src="1596_501Th.jpg" id="3223" type="3" align="left" width="102" height="102" name="" url="1596_501.ram"></A></span><span style="font-family:Verdana; font-size:x-small; ">My second point is that the fundamental difference between religious and secular discourses is in the realm of ontology, proceeding to an outline of the basic ontological characteristics shared by most religions.</span><br><span style="font-family:Verdana; font-size:x-small; "><br> <span style="font-family:Verdana; font-size:x-small; ">In order to begin seriously studying religion and international relations, we have got to take it all the way back to an ontological level. The problem of incommensurability however, rests on that particular level. Most religions, as far as I could gather, share a distinction between ordinary and transcendental reality. This world--the one governed by assumption of cause and effect, the separate and distinct, the spatial arrangements of objects, the linearity of time--does not extend reality to religion. Religious thinkers or believers would argue that without a grasp of the transcendental, a large part of the picture is completely missed, particularly in so far as cosmic design and personal identity are concerned. It is this interplay, as far as I can understand, of the transcendental and the real, the constant contact of it, which is so important. The other thing I find fascinating is that this transcendental reality cannot be captured in normal logic; it cannot be captured in words. Although this is being attempted, it has got to be rehearsed and repeated. Again, postmodernists accustomed us to storytelling, because the use of parables and so on is something which religion has practiced for a long time.</span><br><br><span style="font-size:x-small;"><strong>Rule-oriented constructivism (ROC)</strong></span><br><A HREF="1596_502.ram" TARGET="_blank"><IMG src="1596_502Th.jpg" id="3224" type="3" align="left" width="102" height="102" name="" url="1596_502.ram"></A></span><span style="font-family:Verdana; font-size:x-small; ">Thirdly, rule-oriented constructivism (ROC), first introduced to IR by Nicholas Onuf in 1989, is the framework which I propose as a foundation for IPT. Variants of constructivism followed, each of them claiming the label Onuf introduced, but for the most part they set aside or failed to appreciate Onuf's turn to language philosophy and social theory.</span><br><br><span style="font-family:Verdana; font-size:x-small; ">ROC is expressly post-positivist but not postmodernist. It is ingeniously constructed from a variety of intellectual traditions with distinguished pedigrees. It includes among its progenitors Aristotle, Kant, Marx, Wittgenstein, Peirce, Searle, Giddens and Habermas. ROC takes positivist ontology, with its emphasis on things and their properties, to be incomplete. Unlike the mainstream constructivism of Wendt and others, but akin to postmodernist scholarship, ROC manages to take the "linguistic turn," without reducing reality to textuality. However, ROC is not antifoundationalist, and as a consequence finds value in empirical social science.</span><span style="font-family:Verdana; font-size:x-small; "><br> <br><span style="font-family:Verdana; font-size:x-small; ">The term "constructivism" attempts to convey the idea that people, as they interact, construct the social world from the material world around them, thus shaping themselves in the process. Constructivism therefore challenges the essence of positivism, which insists that the role of science is to observe, represent and manipulate the outside world. Constructivism constructs.</span><br><br><span style="font-family:Verdana; font-size:x-small; ">I propose a rule-oriented constructivist framework which enables a serious treatment of religions on a par with other ideas, ideologies and IR theories. It would be appropriate at this point to provide a brief summary of the entire rule-oriented approach, in order to substantiate what might be regarded as something of a breakthrough in regard to religion. Within this framework, the traditional irreconcilable juxtaposition between faith and reason can be overcome, since in both cases rules as forms of applied reasoning and judgment are implicated. I argue that the reduction in social science of reasoning to its rational choice variety has seriously distorted our understanding of social practices.</span><br><br><span style="font-size:x-small;"><strong>Conclusion</strong></span><br><A HREF="1596_503.ram" TARGET="_blank"><IMG src="1596_503Th.jpg" id="3225" type="3" align="left" width="102" height="102" name="" url="1596_503.ram"></A></span><span style="font-family:Verdana; font-size:x-small; ">What does this framework enable us to address in developing IPT? I would reiterate that this is not an invention of Onuf's; this comes from Peirce, a founding father of pragmatic philosophy, and indeed Searle also uses it. The constructivist framework actually relaxes the understanding of what is rational. By making a fundamental distinction between three types of rules--assertive, directive and commissive--it argues that we (particularly the positivists) have somehow mistakenly accepted the idea that the only reasoning is the reasoning which is associated with judgment, which takes the form of deduction or induction. According to Searle, abduction--which means acceptance on faith of conjecture, guesswork or whatever proposition is at the heart of the religion--is also a form of judgment. People exercise judgment when they actually accept certain things.</span><br><span style="font-family:Verdana; font-size:x-small; "><br><br><span style="font-family:Verdana; font-size:x-small; ">But much of our lives are based on blind acceptance as opposed to rational self-conscious thought. Certainly many scholars have thought this to be the case. I hope to document the extent to which (particularly in the West and in America) we do this. For example, in accepting on faith the ideal of seeking individual fulfillment in the realms of shopping, voting and self-affirming, we can see how much of our lives are actually based on this unconscious acceptance rather than on careful thought. I argue that fulfillment can be found in many other forms. This assertion introduces the space within which, in my framework of international political theology (IPT), religions can be studied and taken seriously.</span><br><br><span style="font-family:Verdana; font-size:x-small; font-style:italic; ">Copyright London School of Economics and Political Science.</span></td> </tr> </tbody></table> </body></html>