Africa and International Relations in the 21st Century - download pdf or read online
By Scarlett Cornelissen
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In particular, a number of IR scholars1 have emphasized the lack of engagement with the developing world, Africa in particular, in the ﬁeld as a whole. While some have focused on how Africa is overlooked as an important object of study, others have lamented the unsatisfactory tools with which IR tries to make sense of Africa. Some commentators have justiﬁably noted that critics of the marginalization of Africa and the developing world in IR theory should be more speciﬁc in their criticisms. There have been shifts – and, some would argue, progress – within the discipline, as the results of the recent Teaching, Research, and International Policy (TRIP) survey conducted in 2008 show.
These are increasingly inﬂuencing regional decision-making processes, setting norms for regional practice and engendering new forms of regional cultural identity (Iheduru, 2007, pp. 15–19). He claims that these African trends contain important lessons for our understanding of IR on the grounds that these mixed-actor coalitions not only constitute novel strategies for inﬂuencing policy, but ‘are also laying the groundwork for transforming the terms and nature of the debate’ (2007, p. 7). Venturing beyond disciplinary boundaries Based on the notion that African IR take place outside the constraints of state-centrism, it is clear that we need to look beyond the traditional boundaries of the ﬁeld in identifying contributions from Africa to IR.
Lemke (2003), for example, argues that the main difference between Africa and the rest of the world is that African states are states in name only. He suggests that IR scholars move beyond the idea of the state as an inherently ﬁxed concept and allow it to be ‘opened up’. Mustapha also emphasizes the importance of taking account of Africa’s own experience of state formation in theorizing about the current political and other challenges facing the continent and its people. As it stands, ‘Eurocentric models are implicitly or explicitly deployed without any effort being made at establishing and evaluating the relevance of any African experience’ (2003a, p.
Africa and International Relations in the 21st Century by Scarlett Cornelissen