Handbook of Critical International Relations
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Handbook of Critical International Relations

Edited by Steven C. Roach

Comprising a plurality of perspectives, this timely Handbook is an essential resource for understanding past and current challenges to democracy, justice, social and gender equality, identity and freedom. It shows how critical international relations (IR) theory functions as a broad-based and diverse critique of society.
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Chapter 2: Opening up international relations, or: how I learned to stop worrying and love non-Western IR

Pinar Bilgin


This chapter addresses the unmet goals of opening up IR. It argues that defined only in terms of geographical locatedness, debates about and efforts toward opening up IR has met a dead end. Come the 2000s, students of IR increasingly realized that the issue is not only about ‘who does the theorising?’ but also what they say. And, what they say (be they from inside or outside North American and Western Europe, the mainstream or the critical fringes of IR) may be characterized by Eurocentric takes on the international. The chapter distinguishes between two ways of responding to the challenge of Eurocentrism in IR: one that has affinities with critical theory and one that does not. It begins with ‘non-Western IR’, suggesting that the project occludes the very avenues it is supposed to open. The chapter then highlights how the study of ‘constitutive outside’ offers a method of inquiry into the international that is sensitive to the ‘geopolitics of knowledge’.

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