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PPR Research Seminar

Date: 3 November 2010 Time: 4.00-6.00 pm

Venue: Bowland North SR10

Damian Popolo (Lancaster)

Summary of the Talk

The objective of the research presented at the seminar is to apply Foucauldian methodology to the understanding of Complexity Science for the purposes of generating new understandings related to International Relations.

First, we will provide an epistemic analysis to the history of International Relations theory to reveal its intrinsic 'modernity', highlighting how such modernity derives from a particular understanding of scientific epistemology, which is being radically undermined by the emergence of Complexity Science. A detailed genesis of Neorealism will illustrate the epistemic formation of International Relations theory as an intrinsically "modern" intellectual effort.

Second we will analyse the genesis of Complexity, also from an epistemic perspective. This analysis will reveal how Complexity is one of the possible paths to knowledge that were opened-up by the "Age of Revolutions" that characterized European intellectual history in the 17th and 18th century. Importantly, different intellectual approaches were strongly correlated to different ideological positions: this reveals the intimacy between apparently value-neutral scientific methodologies and ideological perspectives.

Finally the study will seek to understand what the Complexity turn means for the social sciences in general and for the study of International Relations in particular.


Damian Popolo is currently Director for Science and Innovation at the British Embassy in Brazil. He obtained his PhD at Durham University, and was previously a postgraduate student at Newcastle University and at the Institute of Political Studies in Lyon, France. Damian's research interests include Complexity Science applied to International Relations and global politics, and the study of science and innovation diplomacy. He joined Lancaster University as an Honorary Research Fellow in August 2010. His book A New Science of International Relations: Complexity, Modernity and the Kosovo Conflict will be published by Ashgate in December 2010.


Who can attend: Anyone


Further information

Organising departments and research centres: Politics, Philosophy and Religion PPR


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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD
United Kingdom

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