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The Sociological Turn: Bringing the Domestic Analogy Back In


  • Maximilian Terhalle


In an exemplary article, Buzan and Albert (2010), two leading scholars of International Relations (IR), employ insights from sociology in order to present their new theory of differentiation. However, they fail to properly theorize the domestic-international analogy in their new theory. In contrast, this essay argues that the supposed dichotomy between the two realms, the domestic and the international, can be collapsed into a synthesis. Essentially, two analytical steps are taken. First, the norms that are to be transposed from the domestic to the international plane are not fixed but reflect a spectrum instead. The second move is to recognize that the first step critically depends on the international political context. If the latter is, as is argued here, strongly influenced by rising powers that have fervently disagreed with Western notions of global governance and thereby, of world society, functional differentiation, advocated by the above authors as the predominant paradigm in today’s international politics, does not seem convincing.

Suggested Citation

  • Maximilian Terhalle, 2011. "The Sociological Turn: Bringing the Domestic Analogy Back In," International Studies, , vol. 48(2), pages 165-175, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:intstu:v:48:y:2011:i:2:p:165-175

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