Dabney Waring

Ph.D. Candidate


M.A. in Political Science, University of Connecticut
B.S. in International Affairs, Florida State University
B.A. in Chinese Language and Culture, Florida State University



My work sits at the intersection of International Relations (IR) and political/social theory, guided by an interest in social ontology and causation. In particular, I am interested in how we can best identify and theorize (1) the entities that comprise the social world, (2) the effects they have in the world, and (3) how these entities and their effects interact to shape historical development.


My dissertation contributes to this project by taking up a particularly thorny issue in IR, political theory, and historical sociology: the general causal significance of group identity. Although we recognize that non-state identities – such as racial, ethnic, religious, and ideopolitical identities that traverse states and societies – shape historical development, International Relations theorists lack a general theory of how this is possible. My research addresses this lacuna by constructing a framework that grasps in theoretical terms the irreducible effects of group identity. I argue that historical development is driven by the transformative interactions of different kinds of structured entities – states, societies, collectivities (defined by group identity), and individuals – across distinct ontological registers. To ground this argument, I engage the literatures of critical realism, psychoanalytic theory, and “uneven and combined development.” The result is a novel theoretical framework that offers an expansive account of the “the international,” contributing to canonical debates in IR and social theory about structure/agency, individual and social ontology, causation, and emotions in politics.


Recent Publications

Arat, Zehra F. Kabasakal and Dabney Waring. 2021. “Rethinking Work, the Right to Work, and Automation.” Journal of Human Rights. Advanced online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/14754835.2021.1976121 Waring, Dabney. 2020. “Multiplicity, Group Identity and the Spectre of the Social.” Cambridge Review of International Affairs. Advanced online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/09557571.2020.1825335
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