Still More Terrible Terms

Adding to previous posts about academic jargon, as per student requests, here are some of Prof Trevor Findlay’s vocabulary no-nos. In his own words:

My biggest gripe is about the misuse of the term ‘international anarchy’. Rather than taking this as a term used by one theoretical school, traditional Realists, to drive home its worldview, there is a tendency to use it as if it were true. In fact common sense, the experience we all have of international affairs (for instance when we travel abroad or make an international phone call) and the actual discipline of international relations itself all illustrate that international affairs is far from anarchic, but highly ordered and regulated. Indeed a common complaint about global governance is that it is starting to over-regulate international relations. Anarchy in the international system is only relative.

More in the category of misused words, rather than academic jargon, my favourite peeves are:

– very unique (only one thing can be unique)

– disinterested (which means impartial) instead of uninterested (which means not interested)

– prevaricate (which means to lie) instead of procrastinate (which means to delay).

Finally, some tediously over-used expressions:

– moving forward/going forward

– thinking out of the box

– at this point in time

– political will (it begs more questions than it answers)

– international community (so vague as to be meaningless, but implying the usual group of states that are willing to do something about a problem).


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