A pragmatist vocation for International Relations: The (global) public and its problems

Kavi Joseph Abraham, Yehonatan Abramson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The turns to pragmatism and practice theory in recent years are indicative of a fragmented discipline searching for the ends of International Relations theory. While diverse and contested, both bring forth conceptual language — habit, habitus, field, or practice — that promises to reorient the field on different grounds, with different implications for thinking about the vocation of International Relations. This article considers the contributions made possible by pragmatism in light of the turn to practices, outlining a “pragmatic International Relations” that is tasked with a political project: constituting the public in an age of global governance. It does so through a reading of Dewey that foregrounds his political commitments to democracy as a form of publicly inclusive inquiry. Rather than severing the normativity inscribed in Dewey’s social theory, this article demonstrates how his political values were productive of his theoretical practice. As such, we argue that Dewey does not dispense with metaphysics in order to attend to political problems, but, instead, locates metaphysics as constitutive of the political problem itself: democracy in the age of expertise.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)26-48
Number of pages23
JournalEuropean Journal of International Relations
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, © The Author(s) 2015.


  • Critical theory
  • International Relations
  • democracy
  • global governance
  • global politics
  • theory and practice


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