Beyond the pendulum: situating Adam Watson in International Relations and the English School

Filippo Costa Buranelli*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Among the founding figures of the English School of International Relations (ES) and the British Committee (BC), Adam Watson is perhaps the least studied and researched. How, for example, did his past as diplomat informed his Weltanschauung and his understanding of combining theory and practice? How did his academic relationship and friendship with other members of the BC and colleagues shaped his outlook on international politics? What was his political theory and philosophy? And what have his contributions been, not simply to the ES, but to IR writ large? This paper offers an intellectual portrait of Adam Watson and his persona, making use not only of his published written production, but also of so far unexplored archives and materials. Specifically, the paper situates Adam Watson within the ES and the broader IR panorama, taking into account the professional, academic, and human material that the extensive research for this paper has uncovered.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages27
JournalInternational Politics
VolumeFirst Online
Early online date16 Oct 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Oct 2023


  • Adam Watson
  • International relations
  • English School
  • Practice
  • Ideology
  • History


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