n Acta Academica - 'Home and away' : the international and its 'publics'

Volume 46, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0587-2405


The paper explores how the academic study of International Relations (IR) seeks out and develops its 'publics' and how these serve to propagate the discipline's founding purpose. The history of the founding of IR, in the immediate post-First World War years, is discussed. Using a social constructivist approach, the article then tracks how the idea of the 'international' emerged in two separate (but closely linked) approaches to understanding social relations at this level of organisation, viz., International Law and International Relations. Throughout, the argument stresses that those who founded IR understood that it was essential to enlist the interest of the 'public' if they were to succeed in the founding purpose. Intermittently, references to the discipline's South African life form are made.

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