Over the past twenty years or so, there has been a concerted effort by International Relations (IR) scholars to engage with classical social theory, a tradition that takes in figures such as Max Weber and Karl Marx, C. Wright Mills and Raymond Aron, and more recently, Anthony Giddens and Charles Tilly. Of these comparative macro-sociologists, perhaps the most interesting from an IR perspective is Michael Mann whose oeuvre, now spanning four decades, includes a two-volume history of power in world affairs alongside substantial interventions on debates relating to ethnic cleansing, empire, state-formation and fascism. The interview and forum printed below are, in the first instance, attempts to tease out Mann's most important contributions to social science in general and to IR more specifically. But contributors are also keen to impress upon Mann, and historical sociologists more generally, the need to factor in contemporary advances in both IR theory and practice. As a result, the interview, comment pieces and Mann's reply bear close reading not only for IR specialists, but also for those involved in the wider enterprise of classical social theory itself
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