The Structural Problems of Czech Social Science: On the Hybrid Nature of the Czech IR Studies

  • Petr Kratochvíl
Keywords: IR studies, postcolonial theory, Czech Republic, mimicry, hybridity, semiperiphery


The study assesses the evolution and the current state of the IR studies in the Czech Republic. It starts from a critical stance towards those interpretations that succumb to the simplified backwardness-modernization logic. Instead the study puts forth an analysis that builds on postcolonial and subaltern approaches while showing that modernization can paradoxically reinforce the structural dependence of the discipline. The current Czech IR studies are thus better described as a hybrid discipline based on both the mechanical acceptance of Western theoretical approaches and exclusionary practices than as a successful modernization. The ability to conduct theoretically oriented research is often seen as one of the benefits of the discipline’s integration in the international academic structures. However, what is entirely ignored is the negative impact of the neoliberal disciplining techniques, commodification of research and consequently also the emergence of academic mimicry and the related fragmentation of the entire field.

Author Biography

Petr Kratochvíl

Petr Kratochvil is the director of the Institute of International Relations, the Chairman of the Academic Board of the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic and a member of the Academic Senate of the Czech Academy of Sciences and of several scientific and departmental committees in the Czech Republic and abroad. Most recently he worked as a correspondent and evaluator at the Technology Agency and the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic, and as an expert for Horizon 2020. He is the author of many publications, such as the first Czech textbook on the theories of European integration. He is the co-editor of the Encyclopedia of International Relations, the (co-)author and/or editor of nine monographs, and the (co)author of more than thirty impacted and reviewed articles (for example, in the Journal of Common Market Studies and the Journal of International Relations and Development). His most recent works include the monograph The European Union and the Catholic Church - Political Theology of European Integration (with Tomas Dolezal, Palgrave 2015).

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