4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Explaining and Understanding International Relations (Clarendon Paperbacks) (Paperback)
Very thorough. This acts as an excellent introductory framework, as a firm challenge in many areas of International Relations and also as an attempt at a new approach, seeing individuals as role-players in institutions.
Relentless in its analysis and sometimes hard-going, but also full of wit and clear examples. I was left with some questions about how much of a difference really exists between Hollis' view and Smith's view on the relative importance of 'explaining' and 'understanding', probably because they have done such a fine job of bringing the two together. Nevertheless, there is a vague sense that the clash of views and analytical options has not been described quite right yet. The criticisms of realism, foreign policy analysis and supposedly 'scientific' theories is spot on, and the debate on structure and agency fruitful.
A very important book, with lots to say about rationality in IR, that will repay closer attention and re-reading.