Technocratic Theories

As this is but a personal website that is affiliated to no network, this may not be an appropriate place for an advertisement. But I’ll post a link to one anyway.

The Royal Irish Academy has long been a patron of the study of international affairs in Ireland and its latest conference, to be held next week, is on the theme of Multilateralism and Interdependence.

A programme for the event can be downloaded from that link and there are also options for tickets.

To me, the remarkable thing about studies like this is how theoretical their nature is. It is a world away from the historic days I have been researching, but a good illustration of how specialist studies have become since the 1960s and, in an Irish context, since European developments in the 1990s. The academy and society are not always on the same wavelength.

It would be a simplification to say that pre-1950 attitudes towards international affairs in Ireland were usually a matter of two worlds never meeting: Chatham House theorists across the water and public house, or seminarian, philosophers over here. But there is something to that idea all the same.

Are human rights issues since the 1960s more a matter of theory than of practice? And does funding generate the theory rather than the reverse? Hmm…

My idea of creating an old straightforward chronological narrative in describing political history may be an anachronism. But perhaps its naïve simplicity may prove to be not entirely worthless for more than one reader. At the present rate, however, it is likely to prove more than a while before I can mould some kind of narrative, so exposure to as many arguments, or even theories, as possible may be a good idea. There is always room to learn, even if the likes of me will never develop a technocratic brain.

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