World Politics in Translation: Power, Relationality and Difference in Global Cooperation, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

World Politics in Translation

Power, Relationality and Difference in Global Cooperation, 1st Edition

Edited by Tobias Berger, Alejandro Esguerra


236 pages | 4 B/W Illus.

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Virtually all pertinent issues that the world faces today – such as nuclear proliferation, climate change, the spread of infectious disease and economic globalization – imply objects that move. However, surprisingly little is known about how the actual objects of world politics are constituted, how they move and how they change while moving. This book addresses these questions through the concept of 'translation' – the simultaneous processes of object constitution, transportation and transformation. Translations occur when specific forms of knowledge about the environment, international human rights norms or water policies consolidate, travel and change.

World Politics in Translation conceptualizes 'translation' for International Relations by drawing on theoretical insights from Literary Studies, Postcolonial Scholarship and Science and Technology Studies. The individual chapters explore how the concept of translation opens new perspectives on development cooperation, the diffusion of norms and organizational templates, the performance in and of international organizations or the politics of international security governance.

This book constitutes an excellent resource for students and scholars in the fields of Politics, International Relations, Social Anthropology, Development Studies and Sociology. Combining empirically grounded case studies with methodological reflection and theoretical innovation, the book provides a powerful and productive introduction to world politics in translation.


"Examining the potent role of seemingly mundane objects, instruments, and facts in global politics, this volume makes a key contribution to our understanding of power, expertise and practice in the contemporary world. In these pages, it becomes clear just how powerful the concept of translation can be — enabling the contributors to both map the various ways in which people, objects and ideas can move from one space into another, and to recognize the slippages and tensions that can result." – Jacqueline Best, Professor, School of Political Studies, University of Ottawa, Canada

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction: The Objects of Translation Tobias Berger and Alejandro Esguerra
  2. Part I: Concepts

  3. Good treason. Following actor-network theory to the realm of drug policy Endre Dányi
  4. The travelling concept of organized crime and the stabilization of securitized international cooperation: a translational reading Holger Stritzel
  5. Part II: Instruments

  6. Translating the glucometer – from "Western" markets to Uganda: of glucometer graveyards, missing testing strips and the difficulties of patient care Arlena S. Liggins and Uli Beisel
  7. Rule of Law promotion in translation: Technologies of normative knowledge transfer in South Sudan’s constitution making Katrin Seidel
  8. Part III: Facts

  9. What is wrong with the United Nations? Cynicism and the problem of translating the facts Sebastian Schindler 
  10. Reflexivity, positionality and normativity in the ethnography of policy translation Farhad Mukhtarov
  11. Part IV: Projects

  12. Europe in translation: Governance, integration, and the project Richard Freeman
  13. Translation and the challenges of supranational integration: the common grammar and its dissent Noemi Lendvai-Bainton
  14. Part V: Expertise

  15. Faithful translation? Shifting the boundaries of the religious and the secular in the global climate change debate Katharina Glaab 
  16. Translating for politico-epistemic authority. Comparing food safety agencies in Germany and in the UK Rebecca-Lea Korinek  
  17. Conclusion: Power, Relationality, and Difference Tobias Berger and Alejandro Esguerra

About the Editors

Tobias Berger is Assistant Professor of Transnational Politics of the Global South at the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany.

Alejandro Esguerra is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Potsdam, Germany.

About the Series

Routledge Global Cooperation Series

The Routledge Global Cooperation series develops innovative approaches to one of the most pressing questions of our time – how to achieve cooperation in a culturally diverse and politically contested global world?

Many key contemporary problems such as climate change and forced migration require intensified cooperation on a global scale. Accelerated globalisation processes have led to an ever-growing interconnectedness of markets, states, societies and individuals. Many of today’s problems cannot be solved by nation states alone and require intensified cooperation at the local, national, regional and global level to tackle current and looming global crises.

We favour books that take an interdisciplinary approach and appeal to an international readership comprised of scholars and postgraduate students.

To submit proposals, please contact the Development Studies Editor, Helena Hurd ([email protected]).

Series Editors:

Tobias Debiel, Dirk Messner, Sigrid Quack and Jan Aart Scholte are Co-Directors of the Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany. Their research areas include climate change and sustainable development, global governance, internet governance and peacebuilding. Tobias Debiel is Professor of International Relations and Development Policy at the University of Duisburg-Essen and Director of the Institute for Development and Peace in Duisburg, Germany. Dirk Messner is Director of the Institute for Environment and Human Security at the United Nations University in Bonn, Germany. Sigrid Quack is Professor of Sociology at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany. Jan Aart Scholte is Professor of Peace and Development at the School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Patricia Rinck is editorial manager of the series at the Centre for Global Cooperation Research.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Developing Countries