On the Relationship between “Paradigm” and “International Politics”—Centered on “The Clash of Civilizations and the Reconstruction of the World Order”


Regarding the research of international political issues, one of the most important ways to innovate the research is the research of “paradigm construction”, and in essence, international political research is a kind of paradigm construction research. And because of the disciplinary nature of social science, paradigms have differences in explanatory power. The construction of a paradigm can only be a research perspective, so a paradigm that is as perfect as possible can only explain most international political issues. In the final analysis, a paradigm can only be a partial view of the entire international political issue. However, in order to pursue the lenient explanatory power of a paradigm, scholars can only sacrifice the explanation of some international political phenomena, and finally form a simplified international political paradigm (theory). Therefore, when scholars construct paradigm models of international politics, they do not consider a paradigm that covers all explanations, but a paradigm with as broad an explanatory power as possible. Therefore, the interpretation of international political phenomena can start from a variety of paradigms, in order to grasp the truth of international political issues as much as possible. Only when the existing international political paradigm cannot explain the relevant international political phenomenon or the explanatory ability is weakened, the innovation of the international political theory will be produced with the improvement of the new old paradigm and the construction of the new paradigm. The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between a “paradigm” and “international politics”, in order to solve the current academic problems of international political theory innovation and international political research methods and related problems.

Share and Cite:

Sun, X. and Chen, B. (2022) On the Relationship between “Paradigm” and “International Politics”—Centered on “The Clash of Civilizations and the Reconstruction of the World Order”. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 10, 284-298. doi: 10.4236/jss.2022.106022.

1. Introduction

In the study of international politics, the subject relationship between paradigm and international politics is always mentioned repeatedly. However, in the current academic circles, especially in the academic research on international politics, international relations, diplomatic relations, etc., the thinking depth about the relationship between a “paradigm” and international politics is not enough. The problem has not been effectively explained: what is international theoretical innovation? What kind of innovations belongs to or can be regarded as theoretical innovations in the field of international politics? How to define the theme of international political theory? Why do the methods of international political research always fall into the methodological error of qualitative or quantitative? What kind of research level are common case studies in the field of international politics?… The answers to these questions are related to the core issues of current international political research, which are also the practical problems that must be faced in international political research. These cores include: What kind of international politics research is meaningful research? What kind of theoretical innovation in the study of international political issues? Which studies of international politics are unnecessary studies? If these problems cannot be solved, then the foundation of international political research will be out of the question, the development of international political academic research will inevitably fall into chaos, and the theoretical innovation of international political research will inevitably be a castle in the air.

The author of this paper attempts to reflect on these problems that are still common in the current academic circle of international political research, and takes the relationship between a “paradigm” and “international politics” as the starting point of this paper, and takes a long-standing and controversial book on international politics. The political theory master Huntington’s book “Clash of Civilizations and the Reconstruction of the World Order” as the center, in-depth research and re-examination of the relationship between “paradigm” and “international politics” in the field of international political research, the methodology of international political research and related issues.

2. Paradigms, Theories and International Politics

What is a paradigm? The concept of this keyword has been widely used in a large number of social science studies as a theoretical framework and law since the American philosopher Thomas Kuhn systematically expounded it in the book “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” (Ha, 2013). As an important branch of social sciences, international politics has been generally accepted by the method of studying international politics by paradigm. A large number of international politics studies basically follow the method of studying international politics by “paradigm”. From international political masters such as Wilson-Buchanan-Morgenthau-Mearsheimer-Kissinger-Huntington, etc., their classic works all reflect the emphasis on the analysis framework and model construction of “paradigm”.

And the word “theory” can be seen everywhere in the study of international politics. What is International Political Theory? In fact, this question is not only a question that must be answered by scholars who are new to international political research, but also a question that every scholar who is interested in international political research must “internal interpretation”. Also because social sciences and natural sciences have “used badly” the word theory, it seems that we are surrounded by theories everywhere, but in fact there is an inexplicable fear of creating “theories” by innovation, which is actually in the society. It can be seen everywhere in scientific research. Therefore, the discipline of international political studies is also unavoidable of such misunderstandings, or even worse. Because once scholars fall into such a misunderstanding, it will greatly affect their awareness and confidence in carrying out theoretical innovation, and have a negative impact on theoretical innovation in social sciences. Therefore, only in the field of international political research can researchers truly understand the question of “what is international political theory” that must be answered, in order to overcome the fear of international political theory innovation. For international politics, the construction of the “paradigm” model is actually the construction of theoretical innovations in international politics. In fact, when an attempt is made to improve an old model of international political research or reconstruct a new model, when the improved model does not affect the “explaining power of the past paradigm” or even enhances its greater explanatory power for international political issues, our “improvements” can be called innovations in international political theory. Or, we can re-create a new international political research model to make up for the lack of explanatory power of various paradigms in the past. Such paradigms are truly new innovations in international political theory. However, the newly created international political research model also needs to have sufficient explanatory power for a wide range of international political issues before it can be widely recognized as a recognized “research paradigm” (Xia & Feng, 2007).

Therefore, the question of the relationship between “paradigm” and “theory” in the field of international politics is actually an equivalent question. The innovation of international political theory can only be carried out from the past paradigm or re-constructing a new paradigm. In this case, we can say that the innovation of international political theory is actually an innovation of “paradigm”. A recognized paradigm undoubtedly has extremely high theoretical and practical value, and it can explain a large number of international political phenomena and international question. At the same time, to a large extent, foreign policy suggestions based on the paradigm will be adopted into the foreign policy fields of many countries, which have important national foreign policy significance.

Therefore, the two issues of “paradigm” and “theory” are issues that can never be avoided in social science and natural science research. Because this is about the value of a social science research, but also about the explanatory power of a study’s applicability. In the field of social sciences, due to the nature of the discipline and the complexity of social science research, different research perspectives on the same issue may yield different results.

3. Paradigm and Explanatory Power

Based on the above discussion, we already know how important the construction of “paradigm” is to the study of international politics. There are several large and influential academic schools in the existing international political academia, which can be subdivided into various academic schools, but for the study of international politics, all of them are based on a The method of “paradigm construction” to study the problems of international politics. It is precisely because of the choice of different international political horizons that the theoretical models derived from the paradigms constructed by the research on the same international political issue are very different, so the explanatory power of various paradigms has its own advantages and disadvantages and differences, which is also in line with the social sciences. In fact, international politics, as a holistic global political phenomenon, is too difficult to obtain the various attributes, characteristics and laws of a regular international politics by directly overlooking a huge global politics. It is self-evident, or even impossible, to overlook such a “giant” international political phenomenon with one’s eyes. Therefore, a paradigm constructed from a certain perspective is only a partial perspective overlooking the overall situation of international politics, in fact, it can only be the same approach, directly focusing on the results of a whole international politics or Biased or bizarre, it is unlikely that we humans have the ability to directly overlook global politics.

And this can also explain why we can only explain international politics from a certain perspective. In fact, this is a prominent manifestation of the lack of human understanding, and it is a way to retreat. The method of overlooking the whole situation from a certain perspective does not have the “law of cause and effect” of the natural sciences, but the complexity of the social sciences can only reluctantly pursue an understanding of the correlation between the “phenomenon” and “law” of international politics, and it may also be possible. With the changes in human social life leading to great changes in international politics, the previous local vision and the overall vision have changed. Therefore, the interpretation of such social science laws inevitably has an ending—the gradual exhaustion of explanatory power. To the point of exhaustion, this requires constant calls for the creation of new paradigms to replace outdated paradigms to explain new and emerging international political issues. Therefore, the paradigm of international political research is never a perfect paradigm, a paradigm that can explain all international political phenomena, because it is logically impossible and unnecessary. In order to avoid the single perspective problem of “one leaf obstructs the eye and no Mount Tai” brought about by an international political paradigm, international politics also seeks to constantly overlook international political issues from multiple perspectives, in order to achieve a single perspective or a single perspective. On international political issues that are difficult to explain by paradigms, we can find corresponding international political explanations.

The coexistence of such multiple paradigms to explain the situation of an international political phenomenon can not only improve the explanatory power of the international political phenomenon and the adaptability of its theory. Of course, there is also the problem of heterogeneity in the interpretation of the same international political phenomenon by different paradigms, which requires us to carefully consider which paradigm to explain is more in line with the actual international political reality, or to adopt the explanatory power of multiple paradigms, which requires making judgments based on actual international political phenomena. In fact, these international political phenomena are sometimes easy to identify, and sometimes there are still many difficulties in interpreting them. In the actual single-paradigm interpretation of international politics, there is generally a great deal of controversy, and even more criticism, which is actually the fate of most accepted paradigms. Because its pursuit of lenient explanatory power may sacrifice the interpretation of local international political phenomena, it has been criticized a lot, but the theoretical model of the international political paradigm created by it has become an insurmountable column for later studies of international politics.

4. Paradigm and Classification of International Political Studies

An answer to the question of what a paradigm is, that is, an answer to the question of what is international theoretical innovation. The answer to this question, and the response to the explanatory power of paradigms, also explains the objective reasons for the existence of multiple paradigms in international political studies. However, there are still many problems in the current academic research on international political issues. On the basis of the papers and monographs of the majority of scholars, the author attempts to classify the research that is common in the current academic circle. The question of what is valuable international political research is of great significance. On this basis, scholars will clearly understand the research problems of “paradigm” and “theory” innovation, and will also have a clear and visible understanding of the research methods of international politics and understand. The following is the academic division of the author’s academic division of international political research with a clear degree of distinction based on the relationship between “paradigm” and “theoretical” innovation.

4.1. Descriptive Analysis of International Politics

From a theoretical point of view, a purely descriptive analysis of international politics is actually just a review of the data on international political issues. Such a review is an indispensable step in the study of international political issues, and it is also an important step in the discovery of valuable international political issues. A must have a good method. Therefore, from a theoretical point of view, although descriptive analysis materials on international political issues do not provide valuable paradigms and theories, in fact, extensive and detailed descriptive materials on international politics are the basis for constructing international political paradigms, and they are also the basis for analyzing and constructing paradigms. key material. These detailed and diverse research materials on international politics actually constitute argument materials for paradigm-building. No matter which classic works on international politics are, there is almost always such a feature: that is, a wide range of international political materials with a global perspective. In his exposition of “The Clash of Civilizations and the Reconstruction of Order”, Huntington’s precise, detailed and rich international political materials actually constituted Huntington’s international vision as one of the greatest political scientists in the 20th century. The simple yet sophisticated language of international political argumentative materials constitutes a feature of his writings, which greatly enhances the superiority of his arguments and the readability of his articles. The extensive and precise expositions in his book have reached an astonishing level, which makes the researchers of international politics look up to it. Perhaps this is the foundation of Huntington’s master of international political theory, which is the basis for his argumentation of the “Clash of Civilizations Theory”. This paradigm provides extremely important argumentative material. Therefore, although in fact purely descriptive international political materials are not really international political studies, let alone theoretical innovations in international politics. And the fact that the current academic circles are always obsessed with “case studies” (Huang & Sun, 2016) is also due to the lack of understanding and accumulation of extensive and detailed materials on international politics? The lack of sufficient research materials on international politics will inevitably affect the construction of the paradigm of international politics and the precise demonstration of the paradigm, and then affect the theoretical innovation of international politics. Therefore, although the material description of international politics is not a theoretical innovation, in fact the importance of this step is self-evident in the study of international politics.

4.2. International Political Theory Research on “Improving the Past Paradigm” and “Constructing a New Paradigm”

Based on the above discussion, we already know that this research is the most important research level in the innovative development of international political theory. This stage of research has the highest demands on scholars. It not only requires scholars to have a keen disciplinary vision for grasping international political issues, but also requires scholars to master detailed and rich research materials on international political issues.

Master the fundamentals of international political history research. This ability requires the researcher to have a fundamental understanding of all past paradigms of international politics research. The significance of this understanding is that when building a theoretical model of international politics, it will not go astray, and will not sink into the repeated construction of research models that have already been constructed, which is the so-called “lost in this mountain”, doing meaningless research, even if a research paradigm is successfully constructed in the end, it may not be the research results of the scholars themselves, and even worse, it may cause academic misconduct. Therefore, any scholar who is interested in doing real research in the field of international politics should have such a consciousness of the history of international politics—the model that has been matured and constructed repeatedly is neither a theoretical innovation of the so-called international politics. Nor is it that scholars in the field of international politics should have a scholarly attitude. In fact, the masters of international political theory have extensive knowledge reserves and theoretical readings. In his book The Clash of Civilizations and the Reconstruction of the World Order, Huntington accurately reviewed the explanatory power of several popular research paradigms in the academic world for international political phenomena, and thus accurately found the key to building a post-Cold War world order. Word: Civilization, thus avoiding duplication of past research on international political paradigms. On this level, Huntington has always given his readers the feeling in his writings that I simply want to tell my readers something profound. From this level, Huntington’s “The Clash of Civilizations and the Reconstruction of the World Order” can be regarded as a very standard and in-depth doctoral dissertation. Although he created a large number of new interpretive words in his book, it did not affect the reader’s reading in the slightest. His detailed and incisive grasp of the existing paradigms in the past, and a profound grasp of the past paradigms of the history of international politics, which is very important for the construction of its paradigm.

But in fact, it is too challenging for researchers to construct a new paradigm of international political research, and it is even more difficult to construct a mature paradigm with extensive explanatory and dissemination power. This is why there are very few people who are truly recognized as masters of the theory of international politics in the history of the discipline development of international politics over the past century. Of course, the reason for this problem has a lot to do with the changes in the actual international political environment. The big changes in the new international environment are more likely to call for the emer- gence of a new international political research paradigm. The short development history of the discipline of international politics is of great relevance.

Due to the fact that international politics is a social science, the theoretical models constructed by masters and scholars of international politics have been tested for a long time in terms of their explanatory power, but the criticism of the construction of their theoretical models is still up to now. There is an ever-increasing trend. It is also officially because of the construction of these imperfect paradigm theoretical models that there is room for international political research scholars to make repairs, which also allows most international political researchers to find room for supplementary research. After all, in fact, only a few international Political scientists can truly master the models for building new paradigms, and in the end, only a few individual masters of international politics can make a name for themselves in the history of international politics. This has a lot to do with the superb and sharp political vision required to construct a new paradigm. Therefore, most of the innovative research on a broad range of academic theories of international politics falls within the scope of this level—criti- cism and reflection on existing paradigms in order to repair their shortcomings and enhance the explanatory power of old paradigms. In this form of international political research, if it is an improvement on the past paradigm model, and the explanatory power and the lenient level of explanatory power have been improved, then this international political research can also be regarded as a research on international politics. Theoretical innovation, because this partial paradigm improvement does improve the explanatory power of the original paradigm.

However, this kind of innovation is actually just a “small repair” to the past paradigm to adapt to the changing international political environment. It is only a lower-level innovation in the innovation level of international political theory, but it may also be greatly recognized. The real theoretical innovation—construc- ting a new paradigm is the highest level of international political theoretical innovation, and its requirements for scholars have reached the highest level. If a brand-new international political research paradigm can be constructed and has a high explanatory power, then such an international political scientist will undoubtedly have a strong ability to innovate academic theories, which is enough to show that he has a keen eye on international political issues.

There are many scholars in the current academic world who can achieve this level, but most of the paradigm constructions draw on the research paradigms of natural sciences (such as biology, etc.) and social sciences (such as sociology, economics, etc.). At that time, due to the complex and even obscure paradigms constructed, although such paradigms have strong explanatory power for international politics, they sacrifice the principle of “simplification” of international political paradigms to a certain extent, and are not easy to spread in a wide range of academic circles. It can only be regarded as a treasure by a few scholars. But it may also be that the status of scholars is not enough, or that academic dissemination has not received attention.

However, as a scholar in the field of international politics, we should not stop at tinkering with past paradigms, but should establish greater disciplinary self- confidence and self-consciousness, and try to establish a new theoretical paradigm. Explaining current and future international political issues is the possible path to becoming a great theoretical master. Indulging in minor repairs and major repairs to past theories is of course a theoretical innovation, but in fact it is difficult to surpass the past. And this confidence is real and there is evidence to follow. In the study of international politics, there are many masters of international political theory (such as Buchanan’s Theory of Containment, Morgenthau’s Theory of Human Nature, Huntington’s Theory of Clash of Civilizations, etc.), these theories are undoubtedly not easy to understand, and the construction of these paradigms is actually very simple, a large number of non-political researchers can understand the theories they build, which is enough to show that this kind of confidence is needed. Every researcher should establish the confidence to build a paradigm, instead of being discouraged and blocked by the innovation of international political theory.

4.3. Applying Existing Paradigms to Research

In fact, in the current academic circle of international political research, a large number of scholars engaged in international political research are not actually “case studies”, “comparative studies” or “logical deductive studies” in their research methods. At more levels, their research can only be regarded as the application of one or more paradigms of international political research that have existed in the past. This kind of research behavior of applying a paradigm to an international political issue, or explaining a complex international political issue by mixing several research paradigms, this kind of research method is actually very important in the academic research of international politics. This research method is also very popular in academia and is widely used by a large number of researchers. One of the most important reasons for this is the arduousness and complexity of the construction of international political theory. This is also one of the crux of why there are few famous masters of international political theory in the field of international politics. Without a keen theoretical vision of international politics, great consciousness of theoretical innovation and extremely keen thinking on international political issues, the difficulty of building a new theoretical paradigm can be imagined. Therefore, the academic world has naturally lowered its requirements for the so-called academic innovation, which is actually a helplessness to the current situation of the discipline development. Of course, this kind of research method can be given a certain amount of attention by the academic community, and it must also have its worthy reference value.

First of all, this kind of applied paradigm research can spread the existing research paradigms of international political theory. After all, a large number of theories have been accumulated in a large number of international political research paradigms. It can indeed enhance the dissemination of theoretical paradigms and play a positive role in possible theoretical innovation and improvement. This may be a major reason for the academic community to recognize such academic research, because it is not completely worthless, but it has not made substantial contributions to the innovation of international political theory, and has not expanded the intellectual boundaries of international politics. This is actually an accumulation process for researchers who have just entered the gate of international politics, an important stage for establishing academic confidence and gradually developing academic accumulation. In this way, most scholars can break through the predicament of academic research and provide the possibility for real theoretical innovation.

Secondly, it is the application of a variety of paradigms mixed together to study a complex international political issue. This kind of research combines a variety of research paradigms to analyze specific international political realities, and can get more detailed and reliable conclusions for analyzing international political issues. This research method actually exists widely in the comments of international political commentators on international political issues. Simply and clearly understand international politics, this method actually has a very good role in promoting citizens’ knowledge, evaluation and analysis ability of international politics. Of course, this kind of comprehensive research that mixes multiple paradigms may play another very important role, which is to have a clear glimpse of the applicability of various research paradigms to the analysis of international political issues, and then find ways to improve and perfect the past research paradigms. The possibility of possible research paradigm innovation provides the possibility, so this research method has also been widely recognized by academics.

By comprehensively understanding the above three research methods, we will find that scholars of entry-level international political research are basically only able to access the first stage of descriptive research. Although this stage is very important to the study of international politics, it is still only in its infancy. With the extensive study and research of international politics, a large number of researchers can do the third method, which is to use existing research paradigms to evaluate many international issues in the past and present, and to do some research on current international political issues. At this stage of research, in fact, I have gradually mastered more historical knowledge of international politics and past research paradigms, laying a solid foundation for the most crucial second type of research—paradigm improvement and creation of new paradigms. In the second kind of research, it can be regarded as the real theoretical research of international politics, and it is possible to touch the intellectual boundary of international political research. Of course, the requirements at this stage are at the highest level of ability, and generally few people can reach such a height. Although many researchers are eager to try and have written a large number of monographs, most of them have borrowed interdisciplinary research methods to construct a very obscure paradigm and make research models very complex, so it is not easy to spread, so it is difficult to obtain Positive effect, it is difficult to become famous in the field of international politics. When we look back at the classic works of the masters of international political theory, they are all controversial and great. In addition, we have also formally faced such a problem: the choice of individual cases or multiple cases serves for the construction of “paradigms” for theoretical innovation, and scholars must not fall into the rut of case studies. In this way, the primary and secondary aspects of the research will be lost, and it will become a specific explanation for the case. In fact, the theory will deviate from the case. Of course, the method of explaining cases with one paradigm or multiple paradigms does not involve theoretical innovation, but it is actually worthwhile for researchers to reflect on the value of such research. At the same time, such a division of research methods helps us to think about the research methods that are very popular in academia at present: quantitative, qualitative, case studies, etc. This division of research classification actually helps researchers to fall into methodological supremacy. Misunderstanding, this not only deviates from the direction of the discipline, but also is not conducive to the innovation of theoretical research.

5. Theory or Paradigm?

Combining the above discussion on the classification of paradigms and international political studies, we can draw the following conclusion: all research on international political issues is about a “paradigm” study, that is, either the interpretation of paradigms, or the interpretation of paradigms. Construct. In the theoretical expression of actual social sciences, limited by our expression habits, in the field of international political research, we can actually emphasize less on theory and more on the term “paradigm”. Because in essence, the study of international politics is a paradigmatic study of international issues, which is simple and clear, and directly illustrates the research attributes of the discipline of international politics. Interpretation with “theory” instead of “paradigm”, the word has undergone a certain transformation in the middle. In fact, it is not necessary in the study of international politics, and it also brings a negative impact, which to a certain extent conceals the direct expression of the study of international politics. In social science research, the word “theory” is actually used too widely, but in the field of international political research, it is actually an intermediate transformation of “paradigm”. But it may not be able to accurately express the core of international political research—paradigm research. This problem is not only widespread in many social sciences, but is especially evident in the study of international political issues. In the study of international politics, if the common “theory” is referred to as a “paradigm”, it is not uncommon in the study of international politics, and it is more convenient to express, and it is also convenient for beginners and researchers to establish a “paradigm” in international political research. Paradigm consciousness” to replace “theoretical consciousness” in social science research (Li, 2020). The understanding of paradigm construction, and then the continuous improvement of various paradigms in international political research, while being able to take into account the explanatory power of paradigms, has positive significance for researchers to establish a solid theoretical innovation in international politics. Such a conceptual transformation is of great significance to Shanshan’s understanding and research on international politics. It can be said to serve several birds with one stone. This awareness requires researchers to remind themselves at all times, and it can also enhance researchers’ confidence in the innovation and development of international political science.

6. Paradigm Enlightenment of Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations Theory”

6.1. Paradigm Simplification and Fate

How to construct a paradigm with strong explanatory power and at the same time simplification is the pursuit of international political research and innovation. In all past paradigm constructions of international politics, there is no doubt that all models have this characteristic. Similar to Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations Theory”, the most controversial model in the history of international political studies in the 20th century and even in the 21st century, simplification is a major feature of his model construction. He briefly argued that the post-Cold War world political order will increasingly tend to be a clash of civilizations.

Of course, when he published the title Clash of Civilizations, an eye-catching was added to the title. Although this was ignored by many readers, it actually contained Huntington’s clear understanding of the explanatory power of the paradigm of “Clash of Civilizations”. Huntington, who has a broad historical vision, is not as confident as Fukuyama’s “End of History”, he clearly knows the historical fate of a paradigm’s explanatory power. The article quickly aroused widespread discussion around the world, and became the most reverberating and controversial article in Foreign Affairs magazine in recent decades. It contains a wide range of praise, but also a lot of harsh criticism. But this brief summary of the post-Cold War world political order is very brief, but it is by no means superficial. It is in response to the “Clash of Civilizations”? “The Clash of Civilizations and the Reconstruction of the World Order”, Huntington painstakingly wrote the most controversial international political book since the 1990s. However, this classic work does not make major revisions to the paradigm construction of the original article, but only extends, expands and develops its original views. Compared with the paradigm construction of Morgenthau and Mearsheimer, the representatives of the realist international political school, Huntington seems to be consciously simplifying his paradigm construction, directly summarizing his views on the post-Cold War international politics in just one sentence. It seems that he is also trying his best to construct a framework for the analysis of international politics on a larger scale. Compared with the past international political paradigms, Huntington consciously attached importance to the significance of simplification in the construction of paradigms. The simplified paradigm construction can not only be widely used in the analysis practice of international politics, but only at the expense of a small number of international political issues.

Of course, Huntington’s theoretical construction of the paradigm of clash of civilizations is not a mystical self-confidence. He deeply realizes that the explanatory power of his theoretical construction is actually only a vision of international politics. There is a common fate of the paradigms on the timelines of the epochs—the short-lived explanatory power. For the explanatory power of the paradigm on a larger scale, Huntington gave up absorbing the realist view of international politics—statistic theory, and instead replaced the main object of international politics—the state with “civilization”. He knows that the realist political concept of nationalism still has strong vitality in the field of international politics, and his explanatory power has not yet reached the level of exhaustion, but he believes that the concept of “civilization” will become more and more important in international politics after the Cold War. Therefore, for the construction of the paradigm of international politics research, out of consideration of the temporal and spatial scope of the paradigm’s explanatory power, we do not need to pursue “a paradigm that exhausts all international politics”. The history of international political development has proved that this is both impossible and unnecessary. Our main consideration is to construct a more simplified model to improve the explanatory power of our international political issues, which is very important, and this is also the inspiration Huntington gave to scholars of international politics.

6.2. The Origin of the Paradigm

Second, we need to pay attention to the source of paradigm construction. As a researcher of international politics, where should we draw inspiration for the construction of paradigms in the past, so as to ensure that the theme of international political research we do is a real issue of international political concern and an innovation in academic research on international politics. Faced with this problem, Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations and the Reconstruction of the World Order” can still bring us inspiration. There is no doubt that the innovation of our model construction must contain two elements, the first element is originality, and the second element is explanatory power. Where should we look for the original innovation in our innovation? There is no doubt that we need to search from the clues of the history of international politics, from the first international relations work in the Western classical era, The History of the Peloponnesian War, to the contemporary literature on international politics, including many non-international politics. Almost all historical documents, such as classical works and essays on the subject, belong to the sources we searched for, which provides rich and detailed historical documents for our international political research. However, due to the time limitation of our academic research and the limitation of knowledge and culture, we can only choose a small amount of literature as the basis for our research on international political topics. Our search for a large number of documents has two purposes, one is to accumulate rich, accurate and detailed historical materials of international politics. Another is to search the existing literature for explanations of international political issues, to avoid duplication of knowledge construction due to one’s own knowledge, or to steal academic achievements by taking the paradigms already completed by others as one’s own because of insufficient knowledge of the literature. It is not only blasphemy and disrespect for academics, but also academic consciousness that tests a truly innovative paradigm. Furthermore, through the historical study and research of the existing paradigms in the past, it is of great significance to improve an old paradigm and build a new paradigm of international political research. Research questions and research ideas can be derived from the literature. This is of great significance to the improvement of the old paradigm and the creation of a new paradigm, and this improvement and creation is the so-called innovation of the international political research paradigm.

We have already known the improvement and creation of research questions and paradigms from the literature, so international politics is faced with complex and ever-changing international political situations every day. The realistic international political environment provides rich and detailed information for our international political research. Compared with historical documents, the observation of the real political environment seems to provide a richer and more vivid case of international political research for international political research. At least there is no need to make a distinction between historical facts and fictions in the historical materials of international political studies, so that the actual materials seem to be more vivid and detailed. As a researcher, you can directly obtain research materials from the actual international political environment, which greatly reduces the time for constructing a paradigm model, which is a good choice for researchers.

After explaining that the themes of international political research can come from historical documents and the current international political situation, we can choose a large number of documents and real-life data to condense the problems that need to be studied, and then establish a paradigm of international political innovation. The important problem is that the accuracy and interpretability of the paradigm model is the key to model building. A paradigm without explanatory power is worthless, and a paradigm with little explanatory power is of little value. The paradigm of social science research requires a general explanation to the greatest extent, and international political science, as a study of social science, is no exception. In order to seek greater explanatory power of the paradigm, it conforms to the general characteristics of social science research. An international political paradigm with little explanatory power may almost be said to have no analytical and explanatory value in social sciences, and is a failed or unsuccessful paradigm. Huntington’s book “The Clash of Civilizations and the Reconstruction of the World Order” undoubtedly abides by these principles, which has also given profound inspiration to international political researchers.

7. Epilogue

This group of relationship issues between “paradigm” and “international politics” is an important topic in the study of international political issues, and the understanding of their relationship is a key understanding for innovative international political theory. Only by truly clearing the fog of the subject of international political research and deeply understanding the true meaning of international political research and its theoretical innovation can we make innovations in international political research, broaden the intellectual boundaries of international political research, and provide theoretical innovation for international politics. At the same time, only when we have a clear understanding of the subject of “paradigm” can we have a deeper understanding of the research methods of international politics. Its common qualitative or quantitative research methods are all attached to the theme of “paradigm” in international political research, and everything serves the goal of “paradigm”, and its academic research should also consciously abide by the principles of international political research. It is divided into three levels, and at the same time strives to build a “paradigm” model, which contributes to the innovation of international political theory.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest regarding the publication of this paper.


[1] Ha, J. (2013). Introduction to the Fourth Edition of “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”. Philosophy of the World, 1, 86-90.
[2] Huang, U. F., & Sun, Z. K. (2016). The Paradigm Shift of International Political Narrative in the Post-Cold War Period and Its Motivation. Exploration and Contention, 12, 122-125.
[3] Li, Z. (2020). From Parallelism to Synthesis: Innovative Development of International Political Communication Research Paradigm. Journal of Graduate School of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, 4, 65-71.
[4] Xia, A. L., & Feng, S. (2007). Paradigm Choice and the Development of China’s International Political Discipline. Modern International Relations, 2, 54-60.

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.