2014 Book and Paper Awards


26 March 2015, 2029 EDT

Stefano Guzzini’s Power, Realism, and Constructivism (Routledge, 2013) is winner of the 2014 International Studies Association Theory Section Book Award.  The award recognizes the best book or edited volume published in the prior two years that contributes to the theorization of world politics. Power, Realism, and Constructivism collects already published essays with previously unpublished material; the significance and continued relevance of these essays is such that they constitute a profound intervention in ongoing debates. Guzzini’s book opens up “thinking space” for a self-reflective, cogent, and fertile vision for how to study the intersection between power and processes of social construction. It suggests an approach to research and theorization of tremendous importance to a field that continues to wrestle with that intersection.

Shannon Brincat (Griffith University) and L.H.M. Ling (New School) are the winners of the 2014 International Studies Association Theory Section Post-Phd Paper Award.  Their paper, “Dialectics of IR: Hegel and the Dao” takes the form of an experimental conversation. It explores whether ‘Western’ Hegelianism and ‘Eastern’ Daoism might constitute a common dialectical approach and what the approaches might learn from each other through a dialogue. This piece not only attempts a dialectic synthesis of different perspectives and deep analysis of such core theoretical concepts as identity/difference, hierarchy, and recognition; it is also a promising example of a productive dialogue that opens up theoretical and political horizons through conversation across cultural and theoretical divides.

The winner of the 2014 ISA Theory Section Pre-PhD Paper Award is Henrique Furtado of the University of Manchester, for his paper, “Remembrance in the Forgotten Continent: Collective Memory and the Politics of Representation in Brazil.” Combining the Freudian unconscious and the representation of memories as Derridean ‘events’, Furtado argues that ‘memory’ always entails a form of censorship and forgetting. He explores this theory through a reading of the politics surrounding Brazil’s Special Commission on the Dead and Missing (CEMDP), which shows that subjects commemorate trauma in ways that are no less oppressive than those of sovereigns. The practice of memory, the paper suggests, following Freud, entails its own form of repression that may be connected to a secondary political repression. His paper makes a real contribution to studies of historical memory, truth commissions, International Law and critical theories of the subject in International Relations.

Charlotta Friedner Parrat of University of Uppsala is the winner of an honorable mention for the 2014 ISA Theory Section Pre-PhD Paper Award for her piece, “Changing before Our Eyes and Slipping between our Fingers: International Organisations and Primary Institutions”. The paper makes an innovative contribution to English School theories of the role of institutions in International Society and to our broader understanding of change in International Relations. Parrat argues that international organisations, once created by states, subsequently affect the change and continuity of primary organizations, by both ‘locking in’ some primary institutions and allowing others to evolve. Parrat’s paper fluidly moves between theory and practice in her analysis of the debates over the reform of the UN Security Council and the primary institutions of sovereign equality, civilization, great power management and regional representation. As such, Parrat offers an ambitious theory of the constancy of change in international organizations that is both innovative and well-situated in the literature.

Thank you to everyone who nominated books or papers for consideration as well as the hard-working members of the awards committees, which were Daniel Nexon, Rebecca Adler-Nissen, Andreas Behnke, Charlotte Epstein, and Patrick Jackson for the book award, and Lauren Wilcox, Beate Jahn, and Andrew Ross for the paper awards.

We are also asking for volunteers to serve on our two awards committees: one for our paper awards, and the other for our book award.  The Theory Section Paper Awards recognize superlative work in International Theory presented at the previous year’s ISA Annual Conference. All papers with a strong theoretical focus are eligible. Two awards are made: one for a paper presented by a graduate student or other non-PhD holder, and another for a paper by a post-PhD scholar. The ISA Theory Section Book Award recognizes the best book or edited volume published in the prior two calendar years that contributes to the theorization of world politics. The award is open to all forms and styles of theorization. Criteria include such considerations as innovativeness, quality of argumentation, and significance for the broad discipline of international studies.  If you would like to serve on either committee, please contact Katie Brennan (kpjbrennan@gmail.com) by April 15th, 2015.