Conceptualizing International Practices

Over the last decade, International Practice Theory has become a strong voice in the repertoire of International Relations theory. A significant number of scholars have engaged in developing a practice-based research and theory for international relations. Practice-driven research remains a very young, dynamic, and highly promising theoretical approach to the study of international relations. Indeed, the practice turn appears to be one of the most productive theoretical and empirical endeavors of IR scholarship in the present decade. Several scholars, each from a slightly different theoretical angle, have introduced practices as an ontological phenomenon and analytical framework into IR scholarship, and spelled out the spectrum and consequences of the practice turn for the field or developed distinct theories and frameworks.

The Project

With so much theoretical and empirical work already in place it seems to be the right time to pause for a moment and clarify in which sense this community of scholars essentially shares a common agenda, which is broad enough to allow for disagreements and controversies, but which is also recognizable as a distinct type of IR scholarship. To date, no explicit collective discussion has taken shape about the contours that define the practice turn in IR scholarship as a distinct theoretical approach. The purpose of this project is to do precisely that. Anchoring the discussion in concepts vital in the practice theoretical vocabulary (such as knowledge, power, or order), participants explore the identity, borders, and future of International Practice Theory.

Participants of the Conceptualizing International Practices Workshop, Cardiff, 14.-16.9.2016


The project brings together a range of junior and senior scholars actively developing the international practice theoretical agenda. Contributors come from all corners of the broad field of International Relations and discuss a dedicated concept, its relevance for international practice theory and the links to other types of theorizing (in particular Constructivism).


The Conceptualizing International Practices project was launched in Spring 2016. Chapters are discussed and presented at a range of workshops and conferences throughout 2016 and 2017. The book is expected to be published in 2018. The project has benefitted from funding by the Economic and Social Research Council of the UK as well as a workshop grant by the International Studies Association.