Bridging and Conversation in International Relations


  • Mark Busser McMaster University
  • Nicole Wegner McMaster University



Bridging, Conversation, Dialogue, Debate, Argument, Terminology, Stasis,


The community of scholars working in or around the field of international relations is increasingly splintered across multiple empirical, methodological and theoretical divides. Faced with increasing fracturing pressures, what steps can be taken to ensure that a genuine spirit of engagement is maintained? This paper explores the challenges of scholarly conversation in an increasingly complex academic environment in order to develop some strategies and techniques aimed at helping students and young scholars to engage productively with the multiple contestations which continue to shape the field. By encouraging the practice of working to build “bridging resources”, a diverse community of scholars can find ways to demystify terminological and conceptual barriers. Furthermore, a commitment to engaged forms of scholarly conversation can help to distil and re-articulate even the most ambiguous perpectival distinctions and points of contention in such a way that disagreements within the field can be more accurately understood and navigated, even if not overcome.