Critical international relations theory is a diverse set of schools of thought in international relations (IR) that have criticized the theoretical, meta-theoretical and/or political status quo, both in IR theory and in international politics more broadly – from positivist as well as postpositivist positions. Positivist critiques include Marxist and neo-Marxist approaches and certain ("conventional") strands of social constructivism. Postpositivist critiques include poststructuralist, postcolonial, "critical" constructivist, critical theory (in the strict sense used by the Frankfurt School), neo-Gramscian, most feminist, and some English School approaches, as well as non-Weberian historical sociology,[1] "international political sociology", "critical geopolitics", and the so-called "new materialism"[2] (partly inspired by actor–network theory). All of these latter approaches differ from both realism and liberalism in their epistemological and ontological premises.

See also




  • Connolly, William E. (2013). "The 'New Materialism' and the Fragility of Things". Millennium: Journal of International Studies. 41 (3): 399–412. doi:10.1177/0305829813486849. ISSN 1477-9021. S2CID 143725752.
  • Coole, Diana; Frost, Samantha, eds. (2010). New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press. ISBN 978-0-8223-4753-8.
  • Hobden, Stephen; Hobson, John M., eds. (2002). Historical Sociology of International Relations. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-80870-5.
  • Van der Tuin, Iris; Dolphijn, Rick (2012). New Materialism: Interviews and Cartographies. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Open Humanities Press. doi:10.3998/ohp.11515701.0001.001. ISBN 978-1-60785-281-0.

Further reading