This book builds a theoretical approach to the intractable problem of theory/practice in international relations (IR) and develops tools to study how theory and practice ‘hang together’ in international security.

Drawing on Pierre Bourdieu’s political sociology, the book argues that theory and practice take part in struggles over basic understandings (doxa) in international fields through what the book calls doxic battles. In these battles e.g. scientific facts, military hardware and social networks are mobilised as weapons in a fight for recognition. NATO’s transformation and fight for survival and the rapidly growing number of think tanks in European security in the 1990s is taken as an example of these processes. The book studies a variety of sources such as funding to science programmes in Europe; think tanks and research centres in European security; NATO’s relations with the EU, the WEU and the OSCE; and the mobilization of theory at crucial points in the transformation process.

Theory as Practice and Capital will be of interest to students and scholars of international relations, security studies and critical theory.

chapter 1|7 pages


chapter 2|14 pages

When theory meets practice

chapter 3|25 pages

A sociology of IR

Doxic battles and the (re)configuration of a field

chapter 5|33 pages

Practical patterns of interaction

chapter 6|42 pages

Doxic battles in European security

The mobilization and redefinition of capital

chapter 7|3 pages