Ibn Khaldûn’s Historical Sociology and the Concept of Change in International Relations Theory

  • Faruk Yalvaç


This chapter analyzes Ibn Khaldûn’s historical sociological concept of change as described in Muqaddimah and compares it with the ahistorical and asociological concepts of change in international relations (IR) theory; not only in realist and neorealist accounts of change but also in some works of international historical sociology, particularly as it relates to an analysis of the non-European world.1 Compared to the “structural ahistoricity” of neorealism and its “a-social concept of the international”2 Khaldûn’s analysis of the premodern world in terms of the coexistence of multiple communities provides, on the one hand, a sociological account of the international missing in internalist classical sociological theory,3 and on the other, a sociological account of the domestic, which is missing in IR.4 The formation of the Westphalian state system marks the basic date for conceptualizing the modern international system and the basis of IR theory. Although Khaldûn lived before this time his analysis of the intereaction between premodern political units provides important insights into the organic role of the international on social change. He avoids the ontological exteriority (Morton, 2013) of the domestic and international that is the distinguishing mark of mainstream and neorealist orthodoxy.


International Relation World Order World History Historical Materialism Social Philosophy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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