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Violent International Relations

Van Milders, Lucas, Toros, Harmonie (2020) Violent International Relations. European Journal of International Relations, 26 (1). pp. 116-139. ISSN 1354-0661. (doi:10.1177/1354066120938832) (KAR id:80021)

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Can International Relations (IR) be studied without reproducing its violence? This is the central question of this article. To investigate this, the first step is to expose the violence that we argue remains at the heart of our discipline. The article thus begins by exploring the disciplinary practices firmly grounded in relations of coloniality that plague disciplines more broadly and IR in particular. An analysis of IR's epistemic violence is followed by an autoethnographic exploration of IR's violent practices, specifically the violent practices in which one of the article's authors knowingly and unknowingly engaged as part of an impact-related trip to the international compound of Mogadishu International Airport in Somalia. Here the article lays bare how increasing demands on IR scholars to become ‘international experts’ having impact on the policy world is pushing them more and more into spaces governed by colonial violence they are unable to escape. The final section of this article puts forward a tentative path toward a less violent IR that advocates almost insignificant acts of subversion in our disciplinary approach and practices aimed at exposing and challenging this epistemic and structural violence. The article concludes that IR does not need to be abandoned, but rather, by taking on a position of discomfort, needs to acknowledge its violence and attempt to mitigate it - one almost insignificant step at a time.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/1354066120938832
Uncontrolled keywords: Discipline, Coloniality, Autoethnography, Impact, International Relations, Fanon
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: Harmonie Toros
Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2020 09:33 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 14:11 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Toros, Harmonie:
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