International Relations - Poststructuralist Theories

Poststructuralist Theories

Poststructuralist theories of IR developed in the 1980s from postmodernist studies in political science. Post-structuralism explores the deconstruction of concepts traditionally not problematic in IR, such as 'power' and 'agency' and examines how the construction of these concepts shapes international relations. The examination of 'narratives' plays an important part in poststructuralist analysis, for example feminist poststructuralist work has examined the role that 'women' play in global society and how they are constructed in war as 'innocent' and 'civilians'.

Examples of post-positivist research include:

  • Feminisms ("gendering" war)
  • Postcolonialism (challenges the euro-centrism of IR)
  • Post-realism (focuses on IR theory as scientific and political rhetoric)

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    The wise man regulates his conduct by the theories both of religion and science. But he regards these theories not as statements of ultimate fact but as art-forms.
    —J.B.S. (John Burdon Sanderson)