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A critical analysis of the work of John Burton
Author: Tarja Väyrynen

This book is a critical study of John Burton's work, which outlines an alternative framework for the study of international conflict, and re-examines conflict resolution. It argues that culture has a constitutive role in international conflict and conflict resolution. The book provides an overview of the mediation literature in order to locate problem-solving workshop conflict resolution within the context of peaceful third-party involvement. It analyses human needs thinking and examines the similarities between it and Burton's thinking. The book also examines the logic of Burton's argument by means of metaphor analysis, by analysing the metaphors which can be found in his human needs theory. It studies further Burton's views of action and rationality, and moves into phenomenology and social constructionism. The book takes as its starting-point a totalist theory of international conflict resolution, namely Burton's sociobiologically-oriented conflict theory, and demonstrates the logic of argument and the denial of culture underlying his problem-solving theory. It explains the dimensions of the social world in order to lay a foundation for the study of conflict and conflict resolution from the social constructionist perspective. The book presents a phenomenological understanding of conflict and problem-solving conflict resolution. Finally, it argues that problem-solving workshop conflict resolution can be best understood as an attempt to find a shared reality between the parties in conflict.

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The language of the European Union’s ‘fight against terrorism’
Christopher Baker-Beall

perceived defects in the orthodoxy than by any particular alternative vision’.30 Similarly, the field of CTS takes a broad view of what it means to be ‘critical’ in Introduction 7 the sense that it encourages the application of a variety of diverse perspectives to terrorism research and entails disagreements and divergence amongst scholars over the key issues.31 What unites the fields of CSS and CTS is that they reject the application of what Robert Cox has termed ‘problem-solving theory’ to research on security and terrorism, embracing instead the idea of ‘critical

in The European Union’s fight against terrorism
A critical security appraisal
Marianne Hanson

critical security approaches make their case. Following Robert Cox’s distinction, critical theory differentiates itself from traditional approaches seen as unreflective and which have been categorized as ‘problem solving theories’ ( Cox, 1981 ). The difficulty of course was that ‘problem-solving theory’, the positivist-inspired attempt to explain international relations was not

in Critical Security in the Asia-Pacific
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Asia-Pacific security legacies and futures
Anthony Burke and Matt McDonald

Booth and Richard Wyn Jones) and the broader definition of Keith Krause and Michael Williams in their edited 1997 collection, Critical Security Studies: Concepts and Cases ( Brown, 1994 ; Smith, 1999 ). This latter approach is critical primarily in the sense of Robert Cox’s important distinction between critical and problem-solving theory, itself based on Max Horkheimer’s distinction between critical and traditional

in Critical Security in the Asia-Pacific
Natalie Bormann

approaches to IR theory that has been referred to by Robert Cox (1984) as the dilemma of ‘problem-solving theory’. Heavily influenced by the methodologies of the natural sciences, problem-solving supposes that positivism provides the only legitimate basis of knowledge. Positivism assumes that facts and values can be separated, and also that it is possible to separate subject and object. This would suggest that there is one objective world existing independently of the human consciousness of the individual, the author or the observer. Furthermore, positivism supposes that

in National missile defence and the politics of US identity
M. Anne Brown

theory and ‘problem-solvingtheory, which ‘takes the world as it finds it’ and sets out to make already given relationships and institutions ‘work smoothly by dealing effectively with particular sources of trouble’. By contrast, critical theory ‘is directed towards an appraisal of the very framework of action … which problem-solving theory accepts as its parameters’ (1981: 128f.).

in Human rights and the borders of suffering
Open Access (free)
Kosovo and the outlines of Europe’s new order
Sergei Medvedev and Peter van Ham

there’ (i.e. far away in the exotic Balkans) and with the debate about what counts as security and how our definitions of security are shaped by various power/knowledge interests. 3 Our concern with ‘Kosovo’ is not rooted in a desire to offer ‘problem-solving theory’. Rather, we are (as Ken Booth argued a decade earlier) interested in moving ‘thinking about security in world affairs . . . out of the almost exclusively realist

in Mapping European security after Kosovo
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The problématique of culture in international conflict analysis
Tarja Väyrynen

-point a totalist theory of international conflict resolution, namely Burton’s sociobiologically-oriented conflict theory, and demonstrates the logic of argument and the denial of culture underlying his problem-solving theory. An overview of the mediation literature is given in chapter 2 in order to locate problem-solving workshop conflict resolution within the context of peaceful third

in Culture and international conflict resolution
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The coming of the neo-liberal world
Torbjørn L. Knutsen

institutions and power relations of his own age were permanent properties of international politics. Waltz’s theory was not a general theory of International Relations, Cox averred, it was in fact a child of its own, liberal age. In Cox’s mind, Waltz had greatly impoverished the rich tradition of Realism. He had reduced it to a mere ‘problem-solvingtheory – of what Cox ( 1981 ) called ‘a form of neorealism’. Waltz did not only make a clear break with traditional Realism; he also made a big theoretical step in the direction of the Rationalist tradition. Several of

in A history of International Relations theory (third edition)
Naomi Head

work in this tradition tend to focus on emancipation conceived in dialogical terms: the removal or correction of communication distorted by power and interests. 10 Cox’s well-known distinction between ‘problem-solvingtheory and ‘critical theory’ in IR drew on Max Horkheimer’s 1937 classic essay ‘On Traditional and Critical Theory’ which has become

in Justifying violence