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Cover International Relations Theories

12. Postcolonialism  

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

Cover Politics in the Developing World

2. Colonialism and Post-Colonial Development  

James Chiriyankandath

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

Cover Global Politics

5. New Waves of Theorizing in Global Politics  

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

Cover Global Politics

8. Empire  

This chapter contests the myth that imperialism has ended by showing how imperial attitudes, racialised power hierarchies, and material inequalities that structured the era of empires remain in place today. It discusses why the field of International Relations conventionally sidelined the issues of imperialism and racism. Dismantling structural racism and imperialism requires long-term work on many fronts. Campaigns combining Postcolonial and Decolonial theories like ‘Rhodes Must Fall’ and ‘Why is My Curriculum White?’ have resulted in new publications and toolkits that decolonise the university. The chapter also recognises the need to review programmes, modules, and reading lists to include perspectives from outside the West, as colonialism and imperialism are at work in core disciplinary concepts and theories.

Chapter

Cover Global Politics

1. Introduction Myth-Making  

This chapter introduces the concept of myth-making and global politics. It begins by explaining how myths about global politics disempower us because they rest on convention, established power relations, and particular interests that should be questioned. One way of overcoming limiting myths about global politics is to adopt a similar critical orientation towards the academic disciplines and theories we use to study global politics. These include the ‘traditional’ and ‘critical’ theories of International Relations, such as Liberalism, Realism, Constructivism, Marxism, Feminism, Postcolonial Theory, and Poststructuralism. The chapter then outlines specific myths and mysteries, before introducing the idea of ‘everyday global politics’. It also explores theoretical thinking, asks why students should be encouraged to theorise from the start of their studies, and why the myths upon which intuitive understandings of politics are based are a good place to start this theorising.