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Mainstream International Relations Has Excluded Multiplicity Of Voices And Issues

4188 words - 17 pages

For the most part of second half of twentieth century, realist mode of thinking had dominated the discipline of international relations (IR), at least in the United States. Scholars and diplomats such as Hans Morgenthau and Henry Kissinger steered US foreign policy towards a state centric realist ‘highway’. The main signposts on that highway, among many others, were anarchy, national security, sovereignty and power politics. However, in 1960s, realism came under attack for its lack of scientific vigor. In response to their critics, neo-realists attempted to develop their methodology on a truly ‘positivist’ grounds to account for an objective and universal ‘science’ of IR (Tickner, 1992; 11). In the subsequent decades, realist ideology, along with its dominant positivist methodology, was confronted by multiple schools of thought. Notable among these are, liberal institutionalism, Marxism, constructivism and Critical theory of Frankfort School. The particular ‘voices of dissent’ (George & Campbell, 1990; 269) under consideration in this paper, however, are postmodern and feminist responses to mainstream realist and liberal IR theory. In the light of post-structural and feminist insights to social theory and knowledge construction, the paper endeavors to build on the thesis that mainstream IR has been narrowly defined and contested by the dominant players of the field. In carrying out this narrowly defined ‘modernist’ project, it is argued here that mainstream IR has excluded multiplicity of voices and issues. Furthermore, these voices and issues not only have the potential to bring their unique insights to IR, but are also sensitive to changes in international affairs. The second part of argument flows naturally from the first preposition and tries to illuminate the ways in which postmodern and feminist IR has used different lenses to inquire into certain marginalized issues and voices. The study is divided into three sections; first section expands on postmodernism, its meanings, methodologies and contributions to the field of IR. The second section, in a similar fashion, brings in various feminist insights and contributions to IR theory. The final section concludes that both postmodern and feminist IR have challenged the dominant discourses, metanarratives and representations in mainstream IR and, in doing so, they have carved out thinking space that can be appropriated by different voices that had been ‘silenced’ by mainstream accounts.
Under critical IR theory, postmodernism constitutes an umbrella term that embraces various sets of theories. It denotes a rejection of the idea of modernism. The foundations of this modernist project of 17th century were rationalism (as opposed to religion), individualism and empiricism. This modernist project, based on the philosophy of progress, paved the way for industrial revolution and scientific progress in Europe (Burke, 2010; 365). It is very difficult to trace a single unifying thread...

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