International Relations in the Post-Globalisation Era



This article addresses the question of whether the traditional conceptual problematics that have defined the discipline of international relations (IR) are adequate to the contemporary global order. I propose that the sterile choice between the theoretical tropes of statism and globalisation which has defined recent IR scholarship prevents getting to grips with the ‘post-globalisation’ nature of phenomena such as al-Qa’eda terrorism and the war on terror launched in response. In this light it is necessary to ask whether the state of the art in IR needs critical re-evaluation. I examine the conceptual problematics that delineate IR as a distinct intellectual terrain. These are identified as the problems of morphology, governance and violence in the global order. I then outline the orthodox, statist resolution of these problematics. The inadequacy of such a resolution is noted and an outline proposal for recasting the discipline of IR is advanced. I conclude by noting that while the conceptual tropes historically deployed to understand global politics might be inadequate, it is not necessary to discard IR as a distinct intellectual terrain. Rather a revivification of this terrain beyond statism and globalism is required.