By Scarlett Cornelissen
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Extra info for Africa and International Relations in the 21st Century
Karen Smith 23 The aim here is not to revisit these debates, but rather to explore possible ways of addressing what has been established as a serious shortcoming in IR. The starting point of this chapter is that Africa and African scholars are underrepresented in IR, and that exploring contributions from Africa could potentially enrich our understanding of IR. This chapter constitutes a conscious attempt to reverse what has become the accepted ﬂow of knowledge – from north to south, or core to periphery.
This is not to imply that African stories are of themselves morally superior: that would entail turning a blind eye to the way in which various African actors themselves engage in marginalization and domination. Just as Africa as a continent is marginalized in IR, so various actors in Africa are marginalized and have limited access to knowledgeproduction on the basis of gender, class, ethnicity and so forth. In the 34 Reconceptualizing Authority and Sovereignty same way, while one may criticize the notion of ubuntu for its utopianism, especially in the African context (the harsh reality of which this chapter by no means wishes to romanticize), this does not nullify its potential to contribute to our understanding of IR.
2. Also see a recent book on the topic edited by Jideofor Adibe (2009). 3. Thank you to Tim Shaw for drawing my attention to this. 4. See, for example, Drezner and Farrell (2008). 3 Collectivist Worldview: Its Challenge to International Relations Thomas Kwasi Tieku Introduction This chapter unpacks individualist and collectivist worldviews in social science scholarship to show that many scholars in the English-speaking international relations (IR) community look at the world through the prism of individualism, which usually renders unheard the international experiences and voices of people in the global South.
Africa and International Relations in the 21st Century by Scarlett Cornelissen