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Chapter

Shampa Biswas

This chapter examines postcolonial approaches to International Relations (IR) and their foregrounding of the history and politics of colonialism in the making of the modern world. It first considers the concerns, issues, and preoccupations highlighted by postcolonial theory, along with some of the central debates that have shaped its intellectual terrain, and the normative and political commitments that distinguish it from other related fields such as Marxism and poststructuralism. It then discusses the relevance of postcolonialism to the study of international relations and proposes three different ways of engaging with the insights of postcolonial theory within IR that open up new questions, alternative methodologies, and a range of possibilities for narrating a postcolonial IR. Finally, it analyses international concerns about Iran’s nuclear weapons programme from a postcolonial perspective.

Chapter

Shampa Biswas

This chapter examines postcolonial approaches to International Relations (IR) and their foregrounding of the history and politics of colonialism in the making of the modern world. It first considers the concerns, issues, and preoccupations highlighted by postcolonial theory, along with some of the central debates that have shaped its intellectual terrain, and the normative and political commitments that distinguish it from other related fields such as Marxism and poststructuralism. It then discusses the relevance of postcolonialism to the study of international relations and proposes three different ways of engaging with the insights of postcolonial theory within IR that open up new questions, alternative methodologies, and a range of possibilities for narrating a postcolonial IR. Finally, it analyses international concerns about Iran's nuclear weapons programme from a postcolonial perspective.

Chapter

Ratna Kapur

This chapter looks at human rights, analysing the structure and politics of human rights in the twenty-first century. In particular, the chapter examines the influence of liberal internationalism on human rights and how this is shaped by the legacies of colonialism, slavery, apartheid, and engagements with sexual, religious, and racial differences. The chapter encourages questions about whether rights are universal instruments of emancipation, or whether the rights are more complex, contradictory, and contingent in their functioning. The chapter also sets out the dominant understandings of human rights as progressive, universal, and based on a common human subject. Human rights advocates sometimes differ on the strategies to be adopted to address violations; these can have material, normative, and structural consequences that are not always empowering. These competing positions are illustrated through two case studies: one on the Islamic veil bans in Europe and the second on LGBT human rights interventions.

Chapter

This chapter discusses some of the connections between colonialism, capitalism, and development. The making of colonial economies — through the organization of commodity production and trade by colonial states, settlers, and companies — entailed the 'breaking' of existing patterns of production and social existence, of whole ways of life. This process was encapsulated in the formation and functioning of colonial labour regimes. Other aspects of social and cultural change under colonialism also contributed to new forms of social differentiation among the colonized, and exposed the contradictions of colonial rule, not least in challenging its legitimacy. The European colonial empires were dismantled in the decades following the Second World War: anti-colonial movements became stronger, and international capitalism led by the USA no longer required the direct political rule of Asia and Africa (an 'imperialism without colonies'), while the proclamation of strategies of 'national development' by the newly independent states assimilated many of the tensions and ambiguities of the 'doctrines of development' of the era of (industrial) capitalist colonialism.

Chapter

This chapter evaluates new modes of theorizing in global politics. These are based on long-standing concerns in social and political theory and all of them involve identity politics in one way or another—a form of politics in which an individual’s membership of a group, based on certain distinctive characteristics such as race, ethnicity, religion, gender, and sexuality, acquires significant political salience and is implicated in hierarchies of power. It follows that identity itself involves issues of both who an individual is, and who that individual is not. This involves not just self-identification or self-definition, but is also mediated by the perceptions of others. In some cases there are connections with social movements concerned with issues of justice and equality in both domestic and global spheres. In almost all cases the specific issues of concern, and their theorization, have come relatively late to the agenda of global politics and so may be said to constitute a ‘new wave’ of theorizing in the discipline. The chapter looks at feminism, gender theory, racism, cultural theory, colonialism, and postcolonial theory.

Chapter

Stephanie Lawson

This chapter discusses global politics in relation to the phenomenon of globalization. ‘Global politics’ as a field of study encompasses the traditional concerns of International Relations with how states interact under conditions of anarchy, but lays greater emphasis on the role of non-state actors and processes in a globalizing world. The chapter first provides an overview of politics in a globalizing world before explaining the basic distinctions between ‘state’ and ‘nation’ in the context of contemporary global politics. It then considers the variation in state forms and the phenomenon of empire throughout history as well as the historical emergence of the modern state and state system in Europe along with ideas about sovereignty and nationalism against the background of ‘modernity’. It also examines the effective globalization of the European state system through modern imperialism and colonialism and the extent to which these have been productive of contemporary global order.

Chapter

David Boucher

This chapter examines Edmund Burke's political thought. It first provides a short biography of Burke before discussing the three main interpretations of him: first, as a utilitarian; second, in relation to natural law; and the third, which attempts to bring together the two antithetical interpretations. It argues that even though Burke has elements of utilitarianism in his thought, and although he subscribes to natural law and universal principles, both somehow have to coincide in the traditions and institutional practices of a community. On the question of political obligation, although he uses the language of contract, it is clear that Burke does not subscribe to its central tenets. The chapter proceeds by exploring Burke's views on sovereignty, constitutionalism, colonialism, and slavery.

Chapter

This chapter examines post-positivist approaches in international relations (IR). Post-positivism rejects any claim of an established truth valid for all. Instead, its focus is on analysing the world from a large variety of political, social, cultural, economic, ethnic, and gendered perspectives. The chapter considers three of the most important issues taken up by post-positivist approaches: post-structuralism, which is concerned with language and discourse; post-colonialism, which adopts a post-structural attitude in order to understand the situation in areas that were conquered by Europe, particularly Africa, Asia, and Latin America; and feminism, which argues that women are a disadvantaged group in the world, in both material terms and in terms of a value system which favours men over women. The chapter concludes with an overview of criticisms against post-positivist approaches and the post-positivist research programme.

Chapter

David Potter and Alan Thomas

This chapter examines Western European colonial rule. Colonialism and its legacies are enduringly controversial. Whether or not colonial rule had redeeming features, it is useful to recognize its major political features, which include its international dimension, bureaucratic elitism and authoritarianism, use of 'traditional' or 'customary' public authority in colonial society, use of force, technological advantage, statism, and hegemonic ideology. Being cognizant of these features equips us to get at least an initial bearing on the question of how colonial rule was maintained. The same list of aspects of colonial rule can also be used to ask questions about why European rule ended when it did, and to help understand the legacies of colonialism, including cultural dependency, distinctive features of contemporary post-colonial states, and problems of state-led development.

Chapter

This chapter examines the impact of colonialism on post-colonial political development. It first provides an overview of the post-colonial world, noting how politics in developing countries are influenced by their pre-colonial heritage as well as colonial and post-colonial experiences. In particular, it considers post-colonial theory, which addresses the continuing impact that colonialism has on post-colonial development. The chapter proceeds by describing pre-colonial states and societies such as Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Australasia, where varying patterns of state formation influenced both the kind of colonization that they experienced and their post-colonial development. It also considers colonial patterns in the post-colonial world and the occurrence of decolonization before concluding with an assessment of the legacy of colonialism to post-colonial states.

Chapter

Randolph B. Persaud

This chapter examines the concept of human security in descriptive, analytical, and empirical terms by drawing on both the scholarly and policy relevant literatures. It begins with a discussion of the development of human security, focusing on the emergence, contribution, and impact of the most important drivers of human security, especially in institutional terms. These include the United Nations Development Program’s 1994 Human Development Report (HDR), the Commission for Human Security, the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, the Millennium Development Goals, and the International Criminal Court. The chapter proceeds by considering the intellectual and institutional genealogy of human security. Finally, it analyses the most trenchant critiques of human security, which can be categorised into: too broad to be useful; national interest and co-optation; reformist tool of global capitalism; and neo-colonialism.

Chapter

Randolph B. Persaud

This chapter examines the concept of human security. It does so in descriptive, analytical, and empirical terms, drawing on both the scholarly and policy-relevant literatures. The chapter describes the development of human security, with references to the academic literature where necessary. Accordingly, the emergence, contribution, and impact of the most important drivers of human security, especially in institutional terms, are examined. These include the 1994 UNDP Human Development Report (HDR), the Commission for Human Security, the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, the Millennium Development Goals, and the International Criminal Court. The chapter takes up a recurring question about the newness of human security by looking at its intellectual and institutional genealogy. The chapter provides a detailed overview of the most trenchant critiques of human security. These critiques are placed into the following categories—too broad to be useful; national interest and co-optation; reformist tool of global capitalism; and neo-colonialism.