1st Edition

Joy and International Relations A New Methodology

By Elina Penttinen Copyright 2013

    This book aims to develop new methodology for the study of international relations (IR) based on joy, informed by current thinking about posthumanism, feminist theory and positive psychology.

    It examines how the mechanistic-deterministic worldview derived from the Newtonian model has influenced the epistemology and methodology of IR (i.e., the idea that the world is constituted of independent fragments), and seeks ways to develop a new methodology for IR by drawing on the potential of a non-fragmented worldview. The author argues that it is this modern Western view of human beings (or societies) as isolated and separate from the world that prevents IR from finding new solutions to the questions of war and conflict.

    Drawing upon case studies, testimonies and examples from film, this book instead proposes joy as an alternative methodology for studying IR, exploring the possibility of self-healing in physical and emotional trauma in extreme violent conditions.The author also discusses how posthumanism contributes to positive psychology in understanding happiness and empowerment, and demonstrates how these findings can further widen the study of IR.

    This book will be of much interest to students of gender studies, war and conflict studies, IR theory and critical security studies.


    1. Introduction: Journey from Feminist International Relations Problem-Making Towards a Life Enhancing Approach  2. Heartfelt Positivity: A Non-Dualist Methodology for International Relations  3. War is an Unexamined Belief: Mindfulness as a Methodology for the Practice of IR  4. The stories We Live By: Finnish Female Police Officers in Security Roles  5. Healing and Wholeness in the Midst of Extreme Violence and War  6. Women are Always Victims of War, Is it True?  7. Posthumanist Experience of War: Readings of the Films Stormheart and The Men who Stare at Goats  9. Conclusions: Dreaming of Loving-Kindness and Shared Joy in the Field of International Relations


    Elina Penttinen is a University Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Tampere, Finland. She is author of Globalization, Prostitution and Sex-Trafficking: Corporeal Politics (Routledge 2008).