Someone recently bought our

students are currently browsing our notes.

X

Postcolonialism Notes

Politics Notes > Theories of International Relations Notes

This is an extract of our Postcolonialism document, which we sell as part of our Theories of International Relations Notes collection written by the top tier of University Of Warwick students.

The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our Theories of International Relations Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

*Cross-reference - PO219 Theory & World; Theorizing the Post-Cold War Era; Geopolitics // PO203 Development; Private Sector Development;
Sustainable Development // PO230 Adam Smith; David Ricardo // PO201 Studying the History of Political Theory

POSTCOLONIALISM
QUESTIONS

1. To what extent do colonial ideas and practices persist in contemporary IR? [2016]
Assess the claim made by postcolonial scholars that IR theory is 'Western-centric'.

2. To what extent does postcolonialism offer a reasonable critique of traditional statist approaches in IR? [2017]

CONTEXT: WHAT IS 'COLONIALISM'?
 'A settlement in a new country... a body of people who settle in a new locality, forming a community subject to, or connected with, their parent state' [Oxford English Dictionary]
 Avoids any reference to people apart from the colonizers, thereby evacuating 'colonialism' of its confrontational/political implications.

No indication that this 'new locality' is already inhabited, nor that the process of 'forming a community' requires the un-forming or re-forming of indigenous structures via coercive means, e.g. genocide, plunder, enslavement,
warfare, mass migration, etc.

Improved definition: 'The combination of economic, social, political, and cultural policies by which an external power dominates and exploits the people, ideas and resources of an area' [Krishna].

The official worldwide demise of slavery and 'triangular trade' was signaled rhetorically by abolition and national development*. Yet, the reality behind this rhetoric suggests that today's world is not post-colonial in any meaningful sense; e.g. humanitarian intervention*, systemic poverty and disease, border disputes, supply chain exploitation*, the
Washington Consensus*, etc.

POSTCOLONIAL THEORY

Removing the hyphen suggests a refusal to treat 'postcolonial' as synonymous with 'European decolonization'.
Postcolonial scholars are interested in how the legacy and transformative experience of colonialism continues to inform/manifest in modern world politics, and in reparative justice; serving as 'a salutary reminder of the persistent 'neocolonial' relations within the 'new' world order and the multinational division of labor' [Bhabha].

A normative commitment to identifying and interrogating Western-centric metanarratives in IR theory which 'seek to parochially celebrate and defend/promote the West as the proactive subject of, and highest or ideal normative referent in, world politics' [Hobson]

Comprised of three major themes:

1. Temporality

2. Production (i.e. productive agency and resistance)
A. Economic/monetary hegemony*
B. Subjectivity and knowledge production

3. Place
A. Geographical and demographical alternation; the Scramble for Africa imposed new territorial borders with little regard for existing cleavages nor distinctive forms of law/governance. This creates serious ethnic tensions that still reverberate today, e.g. the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Kashmir conflict (between India and
Pakistan)
B. Attention to the dislocation of colonized populations (postcolonial diasporas), transforming cultural configurations of 'home'.
C. The spatial metaphors of 'core' and 'periphery'; 'Global North' and Global South'; 'First World' and 'Third
World*'. (see: GEOPOLITICS - cartographic sleight of hand)

KEY THINKERS & IDEAS
ORIENTALISM
In Orientalism (1978), Said discusses how Western hegemony is reproduced through elaborate
Edward Said*
stereotypical fictions and 'imagined geographies' that patronize/homogenize/feminize the 'Orient' by transposing undesirable traits (e.g. barbaric, mystical, stagnant, sensual) abroad. This, in turn,
legitimates colonial intervention, violence and domestication. The binary opposition* between
Occident and Orient, 'civilized Self' and 'uncivilized Other', is crucial to Western subjectivity and

Buy the full version of these notes or essay plans and more in our Theories of International Relations Notes.