After 30 years of devastating critiques against orthodox (modernist) theories, the discipline of International Relations is still alive and thriving. Our starting assumption is that ‘deconstruction’ has not led to the end of IR, but reoriented the discipline, stimulating new ‘constructivisms’. We seek to explore these by focusing on two levels:
First, after the fierce critiques of liberal and neoliberal forms of global governance through much of the 2000s, international governance approaches have not retreated, but rearticulated their methods and concerns. Recent policy approaches emphasise local ownership, hybridity, resilience and complexity, while governance now strives to operate from below, building on indigenous knowledge and resources. Important questions for the section are how power is being reinvented, displaced, dissimulated, or withered by these discursive and policy changes.
Second, critiques are also increasingly shifting away from the nihilism of deconstructivist approaches and the enthusiasm with post-materiality and deterritorialisation. Critique is today turning its full attention to social gravity: pragmatist or Actor-Network Theory approaches to IR, for example, presuppose a generalised symmetry between actants (humans and nonhumans) and advocate a sociology of translation that allows reassembling the social. Their critique of the ‘human’, ‘knowledge’ and ‘ethics’ of modernist theories is not heading to the death of the human and to an ‘everything goes’ relativism, but to (post)human and other new forms of politics.
We welcome papers that speak to these problematiques.