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date: 22 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article situates postmodernism in international relations through its most fundamental and powerful characteristic: its systematic denaturalization of the real and the given, with the aim of social critique in the name of some ethical good. It presents some criticisms of postmodernism and a strong defence of its ongoing value and relevance in order to push the postmodern critique a little harder, and to promote internal debate over some of its claims. It argues for postmodernist currents in international relations to engage productively with sympathetic elements of other critical and traditional approaches, to gain greater clarity about their normative commitments, possibilities (and dangers), and for more work that connects theoretical innovation with specific projects and struggles that are of relevance both to policy-makers and to marginalized communities. In defence of postmodernism, it argues for its ethical and analytical value, and its sheer timeliness: its ability to diagnose and resist the bizarre nihilism of our age.

Keywords: postmodernism, international relations, ethics, real, social critique

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