Against International Relations Norms: Postcolonial Perspectives, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Against International Relations Norms

Postcolonial Perspectives, 1st Edition

Edited by Charlotte Epstein


218 pages

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pub: 2017-05-04
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This volume uses the concept of ‘norms’ to initiate a long overdue conversation between the constructivist and postcolonial scholarships on how to appraise the ordering processes of international politics. Drawing together insights from a broad range of scholars, it evaluates what it means to theorise international politics from a postcolonial perspective, understood not as a unified body of thought or a new ‘-ism’ for IR, but as a ‘situated perspective’ offering ex-centred, post-Eurocentric sites for practices of situated critique.

Through in-depth engagements with the norms constructivist scholarship, the contributors expose the theoretical, epistemological and practical erasures that have been implicitly effected by the uncritical adoption of ‘norms’ as the dominant lens for analysing the ideational dynamics of international politics. They show how these are often the very erasures that sustained the workings of colonisation in the first place, whose uneven power relations are thereby further sustained by the study of international politics.

The volume makes the case for shifting from a static analysis of ‘norms’ to a dynamic and deeply historical understanding of the drawing of the initial line between the ‘normal’ and the ‘abnormal’ that served to exclude from focus the 'strange' and the unfamiliar that were necessarily brought into play in the encounters between the West and the rest of the world. A timely intervention, it will be of great interest to students and scholars of international relations, international relations theory and postcolonial scholarship.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction: The Postcolonial Perspective, Or Why We Need to Decolonize Norms
  2. [Charlotte Epstein]

  3. Constructivism and the Normative: Dangerous Liaisons?
  4. [Naeem Inayatullah and David L. Blaney]

  5. Colonial Rationalities, Postcolonial Subjectivities, and the International
  6. [Vivienne Jabri]

  7. Civilising Norms and Political Authority in Africa: Reflections Drawn form Psychoanalysis
  8. [Julia Gallagher]

  9. Stop Telling Us How to Behave. Socialization or Infantilization?
  10. [Charlotte Epstein]

  11. Against Localization: Rethinking Compliance and Antagonism in Norm Dynamics
  12. [Charmaine Chua]

  13. International Norms in Postcolonial Time
  14. [Arjun Chowdhury]

  15. On the Therapeutic Use of Racism in Other Countries
  16. [David T. Smith]

  17. The Norm of State-monopolised Violence From a Yemeni Perspective
  18. [Sarah Phillips]

  19. Sovereign Relations: Australia’s ‘Off-shoring’ of Asylum Seekers on Nauru in Historical Perspective
  20. [Anthea Vogl]

  21. In the post-colonial waiting room: How overseas countries and territories play games with the norm of sovereignty
  22. [Rebecca Adler-Nissen and Ulrik Pram Gad]

  23. Postcolonial colonialism? The case of Turkey

[Zeynep Gülşah Çapan and Ayse Zarakol]

About the Editor

Charlotte Epstein is Associate Professor in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney, Australia.

About the Series

Worlding Beyond the West

Historically, the International Relations (IR) discipline has established its boundaries, issues, and theories based upon Western experience and traditions of thought. This series explores the role of geocultural factors, institutions, and academic practices in creating the concepts, epistemologies, and methodologies through which IR knowledge is produced. This entails identifying alternatives for thinking about the "international" that are more in tune with local concerns and traditions outside the West. But it also implies provincializing Western IR and empirically studying the practice of producing IR knowledge at multiple sites within the so-called ‘West’.

We welcome book proposals in areas such as:

  • Critiques of Western-centric scholarship and policy-making.
  • The emergence of new theories and approaches from ‘the periphery’.
  • The challenges for the discipline at large in accommodating its post-Western phase, and the political and ethical dilemmas involved in this.
  • Concrete studies of the results of approaching issues and agendas in ‘the periphery’ with the tools offered by core thinking.
  • Work by scholars from the non-West about local, national, regional or global issues, reflecting on the importance of different perspectives and of geocultural epistemologies.
  • Studies of ‘travelling theory’ – how approaches, concepts and theories get modified, re-casted and translated in different contexts.
  • The meaning and evolution of major concepts in particular regions, such as security thinking, concepts of globalisation and power, understandings of ‘economy’ and ‘development’ or other key categories in particular regions.
  • The sociology of the discipline in different places – with a focus on a country, a region, on specific research communities/schools, subfields, or on specific institutions such as academic associations, journals, foundations or think tanks.
  • Empirical studies of epistemic practices and the conditions of knowledge production in different Western and non-Western locales and sites.
  • Studies of the interaction between different knowledge producers, such as processes of expertise or the dialogue between intellectuals, academics, bureaucrats and policy elites.

Series Editors: Arlene B. Tickner, Universidad del Rosario, Colombia, David Blaney, Macalester College, USA and Inanna Hamati-Ataya, University of Cambridge, UK

Founding Editor: Ole Wæver, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Learn more…

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