Jean-Francoise Drolet and Michael Williams have published a new article, “The radical Right, realism, and the politics of conservatism in postwar international thought” in The Review of International Studies.
The rise of the radical Right over the last decade has created a situation that demands engagement with the intellectual origins, achievements, and changing worldviews of radical conservative forces. Yet, conservative thought seems to have no distinct place in the theoretical field that has structured debates within the discipline of IR since 1945. This article seeks to explain some of the reasons for this absence. In the first part, we argue that there was in fact a clear strand of radical conservative thought in the early years of the field’s development and recover some of these forgotten positions. In the second part, we argue that the near disappearance of those ideas can be traced in part to a process of ‘conceptual innovation’ through which postwar realist thinkers sought to craft a ‘conservative liberalism’ that defined the emerging field’s theoretical alternatives in ways that excluded radical right-wing positions. Recovering this history challenges some of IR’s most enduring narratives about its development, identity, and commitments – particularly the continuing tendency to find its origins in a defining battle between realism and liberalism. It also draws attention to overlooked resources to reflect upon the challenge of the radical Right in contemporary world politics.
The article can be read at https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/review-of-international-studies/article/radical-right-realism-and-the-politics-of-conservatism-in-postwar-international-thought/D7F379A82AC34A21EC2DF6AB786A3575#article