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ON THE BORDER, OUTSIDE: THE POST-POSITIVIST INFLUENCE IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS THEORY AND POLITICAL THEORY
Ivanescu, M.; Filimon, L. M.
Positivism has been the dominant paradigm across the social sciences. Its quasi-monopoly has been broken only in the last several decades when with the publication of Thomas Kuhns grounbreaking study The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), other meta-theoretical stances have managed to assert themselves. From the 1980s onwards, the field of International Relations (IR) has witnessed the emergence of a reflectivist current characterized by the embrace of post-positivism. Reflectivist theories from poststructuralism, strands of feminism, Critical Theory to postcolonialism and Green theory did not overthrow and replace the dominant IR theories (neorealism and neoliberalism). Instead, they managed to expand the framework for research outside the state-bound, systemic, and institutional setting proposed by the positivist stance. Where social sciences are concerned, post-positivism disputes the fact that the logic and research principles borrowed from the natural sciences are entirely adequate for the study of society and social relations. In this regard, post-positivism problematizes both the existence of a neutral observer far removed from the object of its study and the need to model research on law-like regularities based on the correspondence between theory and fact. Post-positivism reevaluates what science is supposed to be as well as how and what can be researched. In the first part of this paper, we analyze the positivist and post-positivist paradigms in political sciences (PS) followed in the second part, by an analysis that contrasts the main ideas of positivism with the post-positivist stance that emerges in International Relations (IR) during the 1980s.