Institut d'etudes Européennes
De l'Université libre de Bruxelles

PhD School in European Studies

The Doctoral School in European Studies is a part of FNRS Ecole Doctorale Thématique (EDTEE) in European Studies. Founded in 2000 at the initiative of the Institute for European Studies and the faculties of Social & Political Sciences, Law and Philosophy and Letters at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. It organizes several anual activities aimed at PhD students and supports various international projects (Erasmus Mundus PhD networks, summer schools,...).

The EDTEE  steering committee consists of:

  • Crespy, Amandine (coordinatrice)
  • Coman, Ramona
  • Duez, Denis
  • Foret, François
  • Quentin, Michel
  • Van Ingelgom, Virginie


Political science and International relations in a Multiplex world

By Professor Amitav ACHARYA

President of the International Studies Association (ISA)

American University, USA

UNESCO Chair in Transnational Challenges and Governance & Chair of the ASEAN Center

The growing separation between IR and Political Science is not just in terms of where they are studied, but also in terms of substance. IR scholars do not make full use of Poli Sci material. Thy no longer study political theory or political philosophy, which used to be a staple of political science. Even those IR scholars who do domestic politics (Waltz’s Second Image) hardly make use of political science approaches, including comparative politics concepts.

For example, when thinking of a new way to study the implications of the rise of China the limited selection of mainstream IR theories - constructivism, realism or liberalism – has proven unsatisfying. Each of these approaches is parsimonious and partial; in response to which political science can offer new perspectives. For example in the form of the consociationalism theory of Arendt Lijphart. This offers an eclectic framework of explanatory variables that leads to stable political order, such as equilibrium (realism’s balance of power), interdependence (liberalism), institutions (both liberalism and constructivism), and prior norms and values (constructivism). The result of this shift in perspective was the successful completion of a manuscript that was published in the International Studies Quarterly, entitled: “Power Shift or Paradigm Shift: China’s Rise and Asia’s Security Order”. (Acharya 2014c)

Furthermore, a very interesting article by Philip Schmitter, written in 2001 argues that the attempts to expand the study of political science have resulted in increasing Americanization.

                     …despite the label, “global,” the distribution of this temporal and spatial compression is neither universal nor even. It is very much concentrated on the scholarly exchanges between America and Europe. The former is seen by many observers (and, especially by its fans) as playing the compound role of coach, goal-keeper, striker and referee, with the latter at best occupying the mid-field and the rest of the world setting on the bench waiting to be called into the game. (Schmitter, 2001:3)

 He was of course right, if you just take a look at the US centric perspectives such as those detailed in The Future of Political Science: 100 Perspectives (King, Schlozman, and Nie 2009). As a response the field and its members need to foster a Global Political Science (GPS), just as we need a Global IR. Much of what will be said about Global IR in a forthcoming article in International Studies Quarterly (based on an ISA Presidential speech, Acharya 2014b) can therefore easily apply to political science as well.