Kautilya Reincarnated: Steering Arthaśāstra Toward an Eclectic Theory of International Relations

  • Deepshikha Shahi
Part of the Global Political Thinkers book series (GPT)


The academic discipline of IR has evolved along the ‘great debates’ including the rationalist-reflectivist debate. It is Alexander Wendt’s Social Constructivism that has plausibly tried to bridge this rationalist-reflectivist gap through a ‘middle-grounded theory’, thereby projecting the fourth great debate as rationalist-constructivist-reflectivist debate. Although these great debates help in clarifying the varied assumptions that IR scholars make in their theories, it is lamented that they contemplate less on how to explain international politics and more on the contests of a quasi-religious belief in the power of one or another ‘ism’. Against these great debates, the ‘eclectic theory’ could emerge as a more progressive pathway to capture the future of international politics. Since Kautilya’s Arthaśāstra does not subscribe to rigid oppositions between rationalist-realpolitik and reflectivist-moralpolitik, it not only absorbs a few claims of Wendt’s Social Constructivism, but also offers a fruitful ground for crafting a non-Western eclectic theory of IR that can potentially uplift both Indian IR and Global IR.


Social constructivism Indian IR Global IR 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Deepshikha Shahi
    • 1
  1. 1.University of DelhiNew DelhiIndia

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