by Ayşe Zarakol, University of Cambridge
The Teaching, Research, and International Policy (TRIP) surveys have become the authoritative source for making sense of the discipline of international relations (IR) as a global field of practice. This brief essay highlights some of the more critical insights that emerge from the TRIP project in the hopes of generating a productive conversation about how these surveys should be understood. The results from recent TRIP assessments make a prima facie case that the discipline is hierarchically organized in ways that marginalize some of the most subscribed-to paradigms and approaches in IR. The assessments also make it apparent that the discipline is sociologically stratified in ways that should at least be questioned, if not outright challenged. On closer reading, what the TRIP surveys demonstrate is not an increasingly inclusive discipline, but rather one whose self-evident “mainstream” is a clear example of a social construction that should be problematized. Scholarship that is marginalized as being “not real IR” or as falling outside of the mainstream due to its lack of frequent representation in top journals actually constitutes about half of the global field of IR.