Menu Expand
Decentering International Relations

Decentering International Relations

Doctor Meghana Nayak | Professor Eric Selbin


Additional Information

Book Details


Decentering International Relations seeks to actively confront, resist, and rewrite International Relations (IR), a heavily politicized field that is deeply centered in the North/West and privileges certain perspectives, pedagogies, and practices. Is it possible to break the chain of signifiers that always leads IR studies back to the US and its European allies? Through engagement with a variety of theories (ranging beyond the usual 'mainstream' versus 'critical/alternative' binary), and conversations with scholars, activists, and students, the authors invite the reader to participate in an accessible yet provocative experiment to decentre the North/West when we learn, study and do IR. In particular, they examine how the pressing issues of 'human rights', 'globalization', 'peace and security', and 'indigeneity' are simultaneously normative inventions meant to sustain particular power structures and sites for insurgent and subversive attempts to live IR at the margins. Selbin and Nayak have written a remarkable and provocative re-envisioning of a globally important subject.
Meghana Nayak is Associate Professor of Political Science and teaches in the Women's and Gender Studies Department at Pace University-New York. She has published in International Feminist Journal of Politics, International Studies Review, Women and Politics. Her work focuses on social movements, the politics of gender violence, and feminist and critical approaches to hegemony, security, and identity. Eric Selbin is Professor and University Scholar at Southwestern University. His books include Modern Latin American Revolutions (1998); Revolution, Rebellion, Resistance (Zed 2010). In 2007 he was selected as one of Southwestern University's all-time 'Fav Five' Faculty and received an Exemplary Teaching Award in 2001-2002.
'The most innovative and urgent book about international relations theory and practice I've read in decades.' Cynthia Weber, Lancaster University 'Nayak and Selbin effectively engage all of us as students, as people trying to make more reliable, less blinkered sense of international politics. Their style is accessible, the questions they pose crucial. They challenge each of us to seriously think about who "we" are when we talk about "them." That's IR at its best.' Cynthia Enloe, author of Nimo's War, Emma's War: Making Feminist Sense of the Iraq War 'This is a refreshingly unusual book on International Relations. It asks all the right questions, not only about world politics but about the ways they are seen and theorised.' Stephen Chan, author of The End of Certainty 'This superb book audaciously undermines International Relations theory conceived in Western conceit. Without denying Western power, the book asks whether the peoples of the world wake each day forming privileged opinions about us, presuming to give us their prescriptions for what they think we should do.' Richard Peet, Clark University and author of Unholy Trinity 'Nayak and Selbin's well-crafted new volume contributes to the small but growing literature that seeks to "decenter, unsettle, relativize and provincialize" the pseudo-universalisms of a profoundly (neo)colonial International Relations (IR) discipline fundamentally rooted in and reproductive of the self-understandings of the USA/North/West.' Jutta Weldes, University of Bristol 'Nayak and Selbin engage in an important debate which for too long has taken place on the peripheries of our discipline.' Jacqui Ala, University of the Witwatersrand

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
About the Authors i
Acknowledgments vi
Chapter One / Introduction 1
Us, Them, Over There 1
The Story of IR 4
Centering and Decentering: More than a Matter of Semantics 8
How and Why We Question IR 10
An Insurgent IR 13
Chapter Two / Indigeneity 21
Rethinking IR’s Tourism – Northern/Western Fantasies of Indigeneity 21
The Category of Indigeneity 23
Indigeneity as a Site for Decentering International Relations 37
Chapter Three / Human Rights 51
Introduction 51
The ‘Origins’ of Human Rights 52
Where is (Y)Our Moral Outrage? 63
Stories and Storytellers 85
Chapter Four / Globalization 91
Grappling with Globalization 91
Bodies and Borders 93
The Production of Knowledge 101
From International Political Economy to Local, Sustainable Communities of Possibility/ies 108
Chapter Five / Peace and Security 124
Introduction 124
Temporality 126
Safe States; Unsafe People 133
Pathways to Peace? 139
Chapter Six / Conclusion 157
Contentious Cartography: Shifting Sands and the Topography of IR Today 157
Notes 167
Chapter One 167
Chapter Two 174
Chapter Three 177
Chapter Four 183
Chapter Five 186
Chapter Six 189
References 191
Index 207