Making sense of change is not straightforward. One reason for this is that the field of contemporary social science is very diverse. A mere casual look at the available stock of works in the social sciences reveals a wide range of competing approaches, theories, bodies of results and stances in regard to the production of knowledge (Anderson et al. 1986; Skinner 1990; Hollis and Smith 1991; Fay 1996). A number of efforts have been made over the years to bring order to this diversity. A particularly popular research strategy (itself pursued variously) - routinely summed up and dismissed as 'positivism' (Bernstein 1976; Bryant 1985) - has been to appeal to the model of the natural sciences. It might reasonably be asserted that approaches building on the model of the natural sciences remain the default setting across much of contemporary social science even now. However, the period from the 1970s to the 1990s also saw the emergence of 'postpositivism' in many disciplines, not least International Relations. For the purposes of this book, we shall not regard epistemological, theoretical, and

The notion of dialogue lets us look at the spread of the social sciences in terms of a wide range of arguments that are differently located, conceived and oriented. We can nevertheless order this diversity by characterizing lines of argument making. In the first place, perhaps most obviously, we can speak of disciplines; the institutionally vehicled spheres of concern which mark out different areas of intellectual inquiry within the social sciences. It is clear that the self-definitions of practicing academics will be varied, but typically we are invited to fit ourselves into an established discipline. Then, secondly, we can also speak of distinctive intellectual traditions. The ideas that animate the work of European thinkers will tend to draw on the intellectual histories of that continent, as similarly the work of colleagues from East Asia is generally shaped by their own intellectual histories. The ways in which recognizably social scientific areas of enquiry are construed and thereafter pursued are bound by historical intellectual contexts. Of course, this is an old point, but one that in the context of the recent enthusiasm over 'globalization' is perhaps worth reiterating. Then, third, the diversity of different intellectual traditions can be approached in a related, but distinct, fashion by speaking of 'national' traditions. Arguing this point may risk repeating a mere cliche, but the point that 'national' communities develop distinctive agendas nevertheless seems worth making. There is, for example, a stronger leaning on the European continent toward history/ hermeneutics than there is, say, generally speaking, in the United States. In East Asia the picture is perhaps more complicated given the different degrees of fusion of domestic intellectual traditions and Western philosophy and theory. It is likely that we would find further ways to consider the diversity within the social sciences but, for now, it is enough to again note the point that this book is based on the premise of the possibility of ordered dialogue irrespective of the boundaries that have been drawn.