Abstracts Volume 31, No. 1

Foreign Policy and the Politics of Alterity: A Dialogical Understanding of International Relations Xavier Guillaume

Trying specifically not to fall into either eclecticism or redundancy, this paper is an attempt to develop a dialogical understanding of international relations within the meta-theoretical field of constructivism. Dialogism holds that the social world is constructed through an interweaving of mutually-responsive discourses between several agents. Further, it provides an interpretative tool, the hermeneutical locus, to understand agents' identities as a factor in international relations by discerning their expressivity, contextuality and relationality. Dealing more closely with the questions of identity and identity formation within the discipline of International Relations, the paper further regards national identity as a factor which is expressed in a particular aspect of foreign policy: the politics of alterity. Grounding my approach in the works of the Russian intellectual Mikhail Mikhailovitch Bakhtin, in the first part of the paper I define what is to be understood by dialogism and its constitutive notion of transgredience. The second part is dedicated to the actual integration of dialogism within the discipline of International Relations. An example drawn from Japanese domestic and foreign policy prior to the Second World War further facilitates the comprehension of the theoretical argument concerning the link between the national and the international in a politics of alterity.

'La Resurrección del Maíz': Globalisation, Resistance and the Zapatistas Adam David Morton

This article develops an analysis of the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, active in the southern state of Chiapas, Mexico. Taking recent reflections on neoliberal globalisation and resistance as its point of departure, questions are raised about how the EZLN movement is a response to specific historical circumstances in Chiapas; how the EZLN is a response to the restructuring of the capitalist system on a global scale; and how it is probing the social and political foundations of a future order by challenging the legitimacy and authority of the Mexican state. The article proceeds along two main lines of inquiry in order to emphasise the past, present and future dimensions of the EZLN movement. Firstly, the roots of the rebellion are situated within changing relations of production that affected Chiapas in the 1970s, which led to a growth of radical peasant organisations. The more immediate context of the rebellion is also discussed in relation to the restructuring of capital in Mexico represented by the rise of neoliberalism and increased coercion throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Secondly, the innovative methods of struggle developed by the EZLN are analysed within the categories of counter-hegemonic resistance developed by Antonio Gramsci. Overall, these various aspects of the EZLN are discussed to show how the movement has mounted a critique of social power relations within Mexico as well as the conditions of world order by contesting and resisting neoliberal globalisation.

Indigeneity and the International Karena Shaw

What are the conditions under which international relations might become a meaningful political site for indigenous peoples' struggles against colonisation? This paper explores this question through an engagement with disciplinary struggles within international relations, on the one hand, and a reading of the politics of indigeneity, on the other. It traces the disciplinary mechanisms through which the gesture of inclusivity by scholars of international relations towards indigenous peoples functions to re-inscribe colonial relationships and, given this, considers whether and under what conditions indigenous peoples might find any relevance in the study and practice of 'international relations' as inscribed through the discipline. This analysis in turn suggests two questions: one about the limits of and inscribed by the discipline read against claims to represent 'world politics', the other about the strategic potentialities of 'international relations' as a political site for 'marginal' peoples.

The Power of Inscription: Beyond Social Construction and Deconstruction in European Integration Studies William Walters

This article advances a heterodox understanding of 'construction' as a way of theorising European integration. The first section sets out this version of construction, which is derived from the work of Bruno Latour and which emphasises the techne of inscription. This new view of construction is contrasted with the typical understandings of construction and deconstruction within European Union studies. The article then demonstrates the value of a focus on inscription in terms of a case study: the construction of Justice and Home Affairs as a sphere of EU competence. A concern with inscription does not amount to anything like a new theory of European integration. Instead, it gestures towards a microsocial engagement with some of the materials of integration. This undertaking does not reveal the broad dynamics or processes of European integration, and it certainly does not explain policy outcomes. Instead, it suggests a series of local and situated accounts concerning some of the myriad ways in which Europe is composed as a knowable space of rule, in which the actions of diverse agents might be coordinated in such a way as to promote Europe.

Retrieving the Imperial: Empire and International Relations Tarak Barkawi and Mark Laffey

This essay uses Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri's Empire, one of the most widely read accounts of international politics in recent years, as a vehicle to rethink International Relations' engagement with the notion of empire. We begin with the observation that Westphalian models of the international obscure the role of imperial relations in world politics. We go on to develop a conception of the international as a 'thick' set of social relations, consisting of social and cultural flows as well as political-military and economic interactions, which often take place in a context of imperial hierarchy. Retrieving the imperial thus offers a way out of the 'territorial trap' set by Westphalia and alerts us to a range of phenomena occluded by IR's central categories. From this perspective, we analyse Empire as an innovative but flawed effort to take seriously the imperial character of international relations. In particular, we focus on the role of the multitude in world politics, Hardt and Negri's genealogy of sovereignty, and their claim that imperialism in the old-fashioned sense is over.

'Flying Planes Can Be Dangerous' Cynthia Weber

In the immediate aftermath of the 11 September attack on America, a parallel was repeatedly drawn between this event and the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. The two events seem to have the same meaning in American discourse on 11 September because the two events seem to follow a similar sequencing: surprise attack leading to loss (again) of American innocence at a time when the rhetoric of isolationism was in play. Looking beyond superficial accounts of sequencing, this paper compares and contrasts the moral grammar that structures the meaning of these two events as they circulate in popular representations (the film Pearl Harbour and the official and mediatic representation of Attack on America) and the codes of gender and sexuality upon which these moral grammars rely. It concludes that the two events/representations of events abide by very different codes of gender and sexuality. Pearl Harbor and Pearl Harbor employ the codes of gender, sexuality and morality traditionally applied to sovereign nation–states, while Attack on America employs the codes of gender, sexuality, and morality traditionally applied to global firms in neoliberal takes on globalisation. The paper concludes by reading the investments America has in equating similar sequencing with similar meaning.

Living in a World Risk Society: A Reply to Mikkel V. Rasmussen Shlomo Griner

International Relations is in constant need of new theoretical tools in order to cope with the dynamic nature of its object of study. The increasing globality of threats to human security suggests the necessity of enriching our cognitive approaches with transnational frames of reference. This article takes a look at Ulrich Beck's theory of World Risk Society from the perspective of International Relations. It explains World Risk Society's main concepts and analyses its ontological, epistemological, policy and normative implications. The article also reviews what is one of the first systematic attempt at applying Beck's theory to the field of International Relations: Mikkel Vedby Rasmussen's article Reflexive Security in a recent issue of this journal. The importance of this attempt is acknowledged, although concerns are raised about the complications of employing Beck's theory without properly developing its empirical implications for the study of international relations. The last part of the article relates World Risk Society to International Relations in order to expand the possibilities of its application.

 

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