Xavier Guillaume (Université de Genève)

Robbie

First, thank you for thinking about me to participate in this project. Second, I am in. I share part of your frustration with poststru and postmo in IR use of key authors such as Foucault and esp. the way they have been used to offer cheap normative postures that often contradicts or at least are at odds with my reading of Foucault. I also feel that a distinction should be made between those European/Western authors you are talking about and the IR flock that is using them and that shy away from certain issues or certain tensions (i.e. some referring to Foucault as THE word on issues where Foucault was acting as a political activist and not necessarily as a ‘total’ scholar).

I envision this research project in two complementary ways:

1) Why is this important? Why is this tension we feel and the danger we identify in certain postures from certain side of IR are important to decipher, analyze, tackle, etc.? E.g. Can “European/Western” theory be immune of a form of centeredness? If not, is it a real problem and why? I am using European theory but try to use it in a way to decentre IR; do I need non-western thoughts to decentre myself? Is all de-colonized thought a form a decentring? Isn’t there a centeredness in current de-colonized thought based on their attachment to two specific de-colonial origin (France and UK)? Quid of other de-colonized experience (I’m particularly thinking of Indonesia and someone like Pramoedya Ananta Toer who is not as macho as other de-colonized thinkers)?

2) How to make postco and poststru/postmo dialogue in IR? Obviously the two share many many intellectual tools and have too many intellectual connections to disconnect them altogether. So we should identify what are the connections but also problems in their use in IR (mapping); then we might want to see how the two traditions can dialogue? What are the points of connections, ruptures, assemblages, etc.?

Those are some thoughts. Now in terms of how to organize this. I see two things.

a) reading groups. Let’s talk about what we read, about some issues. This can be done quite easily through electronic media (blog, chat, forum, etc.). It might create a good dynamics among participants from a variety of settings

b) research program. Let’s talk and write about it. I have a three-tiered idea: 1) ISA 2011 : 2 roundtables (let’s show the people, we’re there and what we’re at); 2) ISA 2012 : 2 to 3 panels; 3) SGIR 2013 : a full section or alternatively a working group or a workshop for ISA 2013 in SF. We can start in 2012 rather than 2011 if it is too close but SGIR is in 2013.

Hope that helps and/or answers to some of your queries.

Take care
x

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