Re-Thinking International Relations Theory via Deconstruction: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Re-Thinking International Relations Theory via Deconstruction

1st Edition

By Badredine Arfi


256 pages

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International Relations (IR) theorists have ceaselessly sought to understand, explain, and transform the experienced reality of international politics. Running through all these attempts is a persistent, yet unquestioned, quest by theorists to develop strategies to eliminate or reduce the antinomies, contradictions, paradoxes, dilemmas, and inconsistencies dogging their approaches. A serious critical assessment of the logic behind these strategies is however lacking. This new work addresses this issue by seeking to reformulate IR theory in an original way.

Arfi begins by providing a thorough critique of leading contemporary IR theories, including pragmatism, critical/scientific realism, rationalism, neo-liberal institutionalism and social-constructivism, and then moves on to strengthen and go beyond the valuable contributions of each approach by employing the logic of deconstruction pioneered by Derrida to explicate the consequences of taking into account the dilemmas and inconsistencies of these theories. The book demonstrates that the logic of deconstruction is resourceful and rigorous in its questioning of the presuppositions of prevailing IR approaches, and argues that relying on deconstruction leads to richer and more powerfully insightful pluralist IR theories and is an invaluable resource for taking IR theory beyond currently paralyzing ‘wars of paradigms’.

Questioning universally accepted presuppositions in existing theories, this book provides an innovative and exciting contribution to the field, and will be of great interest to scholars of international relations theory, critical theory and international relations.

Table of Contents

1. Rethinking via Deconstruction qua Affirmation 2. ‘Testimonial Faith’ in/about IR Philosophy of Science: The Possibility Condition of a Pluralist Science of World Politics 3. Khôra as the Condition of Possibility of the Ontological without Ontology 4. Rethinking the ‘Agent-Structure’ Problematique: From Ontology to Parergonality 5. Identity/Difference and Othering: Negotiating the Impossible Politics of Aporia 6. Autoimmunity of Trust without Trust 7. Rethinking International Constitutional Order: The Autoimmune Politics of Binding without Binding 8.The Quest for 'illogical' logics of action in IR 9. Conclusing without a Conclusion

About the Author

Badredine Arfi is associate professor of political science at the University of Florida. His research interests include international relations theory and deconstruction. He has published articles in Millennium, International Political Sociology, and International Political Theory.

About the Series


The Series provides a forum for innovative and interdisciplinary work that engages with alternative critical, post-structural, feminist, postcolonial, psychoanalytic and cultural approaches to international relations and global politics. In our first 5 years we have published 60 volumes.

We aim to advance understanding of the key areas in which scholars working within broad critical post-structural traditions have chosen to make their interventions, and to present innovative analyses of important topics. Titles in the series engage with critical thinkers in philosophy, sociology, politics and other disciplines and provide situated historical, empirical and textual studies in international politics.


We are very happy to discuss your ideas at any stage of the project: just contact us for advice or proposal guidelines. Proposals should be submitted directly to the Series Editors:

  • Jenny Edkins ( and
  • Nick Vaughan-Williams (

‘As Michel Foucault has famously stated, "knowledge is not made for understanding; it is made for cutting" In this spirit The Edkins - Vaughan-Williams Interventions series solicits cutting edge, critical works that challenge mainstream understandings in international relations. It is the best place to contribute post disciplinary works that think rather than merely recognize and affirm the world recycled in IR's traditional geopolitical imaginary.’

Michael J. Shapiro, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, USA


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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Political Parties
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / General