The Cambridge Handbook of the Social Sciences in Australia

By Ian McAllister; Steve Dowrick et al. | Go to book overview

would produce 'a vicious circle from which there is no obvious way out' (Indyk 1985:301). Fortunately, the relationship between historical change, ideas and human agency is more complex than he thought, and this is probably why his predictions for the future of Australian international relations proved overpessimistic.

Instead of ensuring the persistence of traditional thinking, the heightened tensions of the early 1980s, combined with a narrowing of debate in the US mainstream, prompted a wave of critical theorising. Emerging Australian scholars took up these new ideas, weighed into the international debate, and turned the new ideas against mainstream scholars who they saw as inappropriately injecting a neoliberal version of realism into national policy-making processes. While this controversy was in full flight locally, though, the end of the Cold War had opened space within the discipline for yet another wave of new thinking, this time associated primarily with the rise of constructivism, but also with new work in critical ethics, postcolonialism, second-generation feminism, and the globalisation of political theory on the one hand, and neoclassical realism and the new English School on the other. Since the mid-1990s, Australians have been actively involved in these developments, but this is a new generation of scholars, a generation influenced by the insights of critical theory but who have pushed beyond inward critique of the discipline to explore the multiple dimensions of evolving global politics.

History thus produces contradictions, international debate has a dialectical quality, politics surrounds the mobilisation of ideas internationally and nationally, and, most importantly, Australian scholarship has been constituted by two socio-intellectual domains: the international discipline and its national quarter. As constructivists like to emphasise, how these phenomena play out is historically contingent, but in the case of Australian international relations over the past two decades, the result has been a dramatic diversification of the intellectual terrain, a diversification that is breeding dynamism, the lifeblood of any field of scholarly inquiry.

This diversification is potentially of great benefit to social debate and public policy in Australia. Confining debate to the marginal differences between realism and rationalism was unproductive even in the heady days of the Cold War. But in the early twenty-first century, when multiple dimensions of globalisation overlie traditional geopolitics, Australia's identity, community solidarity, economic institutions and processes, legal order, and democratic ideals and practices are all being 'externally' conditioned. To comprehend this conditioning, and to respond through considered public debate and government policy will demand thinking 'outside the box'. The variegated nature of contemporary Australian international-relations scholarship can inform such thinking, but only if policy-makers are open to new ideas challenging their 'standard operating assumptions', and international-relations scholars rediscover their capacities as public intellectuals.


Notes
1
Throughout this chapter I use the term realism to encompass both classical realism and neorealism. The term rationalism has a distinctive meaning in international-relations theory. It is broadly

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The Cambridge Handbook of the Social Sciences in Australia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents v
  • Figures and Tables vii
  • Contributors x
  • Preface and Acknowledgements xviii
  • Introduction 1
  • References 13
  • Part 1 - Economics 15
  • Chapter 1 - Privatisation 17
  • References 27
  • Chapter 2 - Competition Policy and Regulation 31
  • References 40
  • Chapter 3 - Economics and the Environment 45
  • References 57
  • Chapter 4 - Health Economics 60
  • References 70
  • Chapter 5 - Immigration 74
  • References 87
  • Chapter 6 - Labour Market and Industrial Relations 94
  • References 113
  • Chapter 7 - Income Distribution and Redistribution 118
  • References 134
  • Chapter 8 - Taxation 138
  • References 148
  • Chapter 9 - Innovation 153
  • References 165
  • Chapter 10 - International Trade and Industry Policies 168
  • References 180
  • Chapter 11 - The Macro Economy 186
  • Notes 199
  • References 200
  • Chapter 12 - Money and Banking 203
  • References 216
  • Part 2 - Political Science 221
  • Chapter 13 - Political Theory 223
  • References 231
  • Chapter 14 - Federalism and the Constitution 234
  • References 246
  • Chapter 15 - Legislative Institutions 249
  • References 260
  • Chapter 16 - Political Parties and Electoral Behaviour 266
  • References 283
  • Chapter 17 - Electoral Systems 287
  • References 302
  • Chapter 18 - Gender Politics 305
  • References 319
  • Chapter 19 - Interest Groups and Social Movements 323
  • References 339
  • Chapter 20 - Environmental Policy and Politics 345
  • References 355
  • Chapter 21 - International Relations 358
  • Notes 368
  • References 369
  • Chapter 22 - Political Economy 374
  • References 391
  • Chapter 23 - Public Policy and Public Administration 406
  • References 422
  • Part 3 - Sociology 431
  • Chapter 24 - Patterns of Social Inequality 433
  • References 457
  • Chapter 25 - Families and Households 462
  • References 477
  • Chapter 26 - Gender Perspectives 480
  • References 493
  • Chapter 27 - Work and Employment 499
  • Notes 511
  • References 512
  • Chapter 28 - Crime and Deviance 518
  • References 531
  • Chapter 29 - Health and Illness 536
  • References 552
  • Chapter 30 - Population 554
  • References 569
  • Chapter 31 - Race, Ethnicity and Immigration 573
  • Notes 585
  • References 586
  • Chapter 32 - Urban and Regional Sociology 590
  • Reference 598
  • Chapter 33 - Rural Sociology 604
  • Reference 619
  • Chapter 34 - Religion and Spirituality 626
  • Reference 632
  • Chapter 35 - Cultural Studies, Australian Studies and Cultural Sociology 638
  • References 651
  • Chapter 36 - Sociological Theory 654
  • References 664
  • Chapter 37 - Social Policy and Social Welfare 666
  • References 674
  • Author Index 678
  • Subject Index 696
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