- The Oxford Handbooks of Political Science
- About the Contributors
- Between Utopia and Reality: The Practical Discourses of International Relations
- The State and International Relations
- From International Relations to Global Society
- The Point is Not Just to Explain the World but to Change It
- A Disabling Discipline?
- Eclectic Theorizing in the Study and Practice of International Relations
- The Ethics of Realism
- The Ethics of Marxism
- Neoliberal Institutionalism
- The Ethics of Neoliberal Institutionalism
- The New Liberalism
- The Ethics of the New Liberalism
- The English School
- The Ethics of the English School
- The Ethics of Constructivism
- Critical Theory
- The Ethics of Critical Theory
- The Ethics of Postmodernism
- The Ethics Of Feminism
- Methodological Individualism and Rational Choice
- Sociological Approaches
- Psychological Approaches
- Quantitative Approaches
- Case Study Methods
- Historical Methods
- International Political Economy
- Strategic Studies
- Foreign‐Policy Decision‐Making
- International Ethics
- International Law
- Scholarship and Policy‐Making: Who Speaks Truth to Whom?
- International Relations: The Relevance of Theory to Practice
- International Relations from Below
- International Relations Theory from a Former Hegemon
- The Concept of Power and the (Un)discipline of International Relations
- Locating Responsibility: The Problem of Moral Agency in International Relations
- Big Questions in the Study of World Politics
- The Failure of Static and the Need for Dynamic Approaches to International Relations
- Six Wishes for a More Relevant Discipline of International Relations
- Name Index
- Subject Index
Abstract and Keywords
This article discusses the concept of ‘international relations from below’. ‘International relations from below’ reminds us that conventional international relations — whether structural realist, liberal institutionalist, or constructivist — treats states or groups as parts that are logically independent of the larger systems of capitalism or modernity, and that this methodological device serves political purposes. In the guise of ‘science’, ontological individualism works to deflect our attention from the co-constitution of times and places. While one hand severs holistic threads in order to present states as monadic entities, the other hand pedagogically asserts that the present of the advanced states is the model for those that lag behind. In revealing this sleight of hand, ‘international relations from below’ suggests that contemporary international relations is an expression of the Western theory of progress. It brings our attention to the relation between wholes and parts — to whether development occurs within the boundaries of states or for the system as a whole, and to the unproductive separation between economics and the analysis of capitalism, on the one side, and representational strategies and cultural analysis, on the other. In so doing, it takes advantage of its status as ‘constitutive other’ to foreground international relations' potential as that aspect of social theory that dedicates itself to studying relations of self and other. And it offers us resources for imagining the future beyond those offered by both conventional and critical ‘international relations from above’.
David L. Blaney is Professor of Political Science, Macalester College, St Paul.
Naeem Inayatullah is Associate Professor of Politics, Ithaca College.
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