Thinking International Relations Differently: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Thinking International Relations Differently

1st Edition

Edited by Arlene B. Tickner, David L. Blaney


362 pages | 3 B/W Illus.

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A host of voices has risen to challenge Western core dominance of the field of International Relations (IR), and yet, intellectual production about world politics continues to be highly skewed. This book is the second volume in a trilogy of titles that tries to put the "international" back into IR by showing how knowledge is actually produced around the world.

The book examines how concepts that are central to the analysis of international relations are conceived in diverse parts of the world, both within the disciplinary boundaries of IR and beyond them. Adopting a thematic structure, scholars from around the world issues that include security, the state, authority and sovereignty, globalization, secularism and religion, and the "international" - an idea that is central to discourses about world politics but which, in given geocultural locations, does not necessarily look the same.

By mapping global variation in the concepts used by scholars to think about international relations, the work brings to light important differences in non-Western approaches and the potential implications of such differences for the IR discipline and the study of world politics in general. This is essential reading for anyone who is concerned about the history, development and future of International Relations.


Arlene Tickner and David Blaney explore how knowledge of the international is produced in different parts of the world in this important edited volume. They challenge the boundaries, expand the definition of the subject, and create space for a de-centering of the field of IR. They are sensitive to the diversity of ways in which theoretical knowledge is socially and historically situated and explore how concepts become rearticulated in different parts of the world. They argue that recognizing multiple traditions is necessary for a genuinely global dialogue and present a "world of worlds" in which diversity flourishes.

Thomas Biersteker, The Graduate Institute, Geneva.

This book is an immense achievement. For a discipline that claims to research and teach ‘the international’, IR has always been a provincial place. Unthinking traditional conceptions of world politics is a steep challenge, yet meeting it has now become possible with Thinking International Relations Differently.

Tim Dunne, University of Queensland.

IR theorists in the Anglophone world mostly (but not entirely) outside North America have often celebrated the diversity and critical edge of their contributions—and not without significant cause. Yet this enterprise in International Relations theory has singularly and spectacularly failed to attend to the European-modern episteme upon which most of the many fascinating manifestations of theory of the international claim their authority to speak of global order in general terms. Is this failure born of reticence, blindness or ignorance? Whatever the case, such a phenomenon provokes a more fundamental question: is International Relations theory an impossibility?

If you apprehend this question with some urgency, or, if you simply find it an interesting provocation, then Thinking International Relations Differently is obligatory reading.

Robbie Shilliam, Queen Mary, University of London

Table of Contents

1. Introduction Arlene B Tickner and David L. Blaney Section I: Security 2. Security in the Arab World and Turkey: Differently Different Pinar Bilgin 3. Aberystwyth, Paris, Copenhagen. The Europeanness of New "Schools" of Security Theory in an American Field Ole Wæver 4. Security Theorizing in China: Culture, Evolution and Social Practice Liu Yongtao 5. No Room for Theory? Security Studies in Latin America Arlene B. Tickner and Mônica Herz Section II:. State, Sovereignty and Authority 6. The State of the African State and Politics: Ghosts and Phantoms in the Heart of Darkness Siba Grovogui 7. Contextualizing Rule in South Asia Siddharth Mallavarapu 8. The Latin American Nation-State and the International Fernando López-Alves Section III: Globalization 9. Reading the Global in the Absence of Africa Isaac Kamola 10. Globalization: A Russian Perspective Andrei P. Tsygankov 11. Arab Scholars’ Take on Globalization Wafaa Hasan and Bessma Momani Section IV:Secularism and Religion 12. Religion, Secularism and the State in Southeast Asia Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid 13. Western Secularisms: Variation in a Doctrine and its Practice Mona Kanwal Sheikh and Ole Wæver Section V:The International 14. Contrived Boundaries, Kinship and Ubuntu: A (South) African View of "the International" Karen Smith 15. Social Science Research and Engagement in Pakistan Ayesha Khan

About the Editors

Arlene B. Tickner is Professor of International Relations in the Political Science Department at the Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia. Her main areas of research include IR in non-core settings, Latin American security and Colombian foreign policy. She is the co-editor (with Ole Wæver) of Global Scholarship in International Relations, (2009).

David L. Blaney is Professor of Political Science at Macalester College, USA. He works on the social and political theory of IR and IPE and questions of culture and identity. His recent books (both with Naeem Inayatullah) include International Relations and the Problem of Difference (2004) and Savage Economics: Wealth, Poverty and the Temporal Walls of Capitalism (2010).

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

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