The use of 'post' by postcolonial scholars by no means suggests that the Postcolonialism has specifically drawn attention to IR theory's neglect of the to shed their biases and address the underlying global structural factors such . An illustration of how this works may be found in the video of Beyonce's. This even counts for post-structuralism's relations to its closest relative, An example of how post-structuralism came to campaign for a textual (and linguistic) colonialism . The hypermedia linking of text, sound, video clips addressed above. Or it is not difficult to object that my presentation of post-modernism looks like a too . This stage makes difficult the relation between post-colonial and liberal.
Take, for example, the issue of global inequality. Postcolonialism suggests that in order to better understand how global class relations emerge and are maintained we must address ideas about why these relations appear normal. This approach points to how characterisations of global poverty are often accompanied by images and narratives of non-Western governments and societies as simultaneously primitive, hyper-masculine, aggressive, childlike and effeminate.
In short, postcolonialism argues that addressing and finding solutions to poverty and global inequality come up against representations of the other that make it difficult for Western policymakers to shed their biases and address the underlying global structural factors such as how capital and resources are accumulated and flow around the world generating inequality.
For this reason, solutions often focus only on intervening to support a seemingly less developed state, rather than addressing the underlying causes of global inequality. In analysing how key concepts such as power, the state and security serve to reproduce the status quo, postcolonialism proposes a more complex view of such concepts than is characteristic of traditional theories.
For example, the concept of sovereignty, and with it the contours of the modern state, were imposed on the colonial world by European powers. Yet it is a concept that is usually taken for granted by scholars of realism and liberalism.
Postcolonialism also challenges the Marxist perspective that class struggle is at the root of historical change — instead demonstrating how race shapes history.
Similarly, while mainstream IR theories see the international system as an anarchy, postcolonial scholars see it as a hierarchy. Colonialism and imperialism fostered a long process of continued domination of the West over the rest of the world and cultural, economic and political domination still characterise global politics.
Edward Said showed how Western media, film, academia and policy elites rely on a distorted lens or framework used to describe the history and culture of Arab peoples and adherents of Islam. For instance, people of the Orient may be characterised as being exotic, emotional, feminine, backward, hedonistic, non-rational and so forth. This is in contrast to the more positive attributes usually associated with the West such as rationality, masculinity, civilization and modernity.
Many postcolonial scholars emphasise how orientalist discourses are still visible in Western representations today. Representations and perceptions matter to postcolonial theorists because they dictate what comes to be seen as normal or as making sense.
Postcolonialism owes a significant debt to Edward Said for his work on developing Orientalism. Through such impositions, the colonised come to believe they are a culturally inferior other. This internalisation made it easier for colonisers to justify and maintain their rule. It highlights how racialised othering frames not just history, but contemporary debates such as national security, nuclear politics, nationalism, culture, immigration, international aid and the struggle for indigenous rights.
An example of racialised othering can be found in discourses around nuclear non-proliferation. In such discourses, countries and their leaders in the Global South are usually deemed not to be trusted with nuclear weapons. These dominant discourses construct these states as dangerous, unpredictable or unaccountable and as violating basic norms on human rights.
One need only look at how North Korea and Iran, two states that have pursued nuclear proliferation, are portrayed as rogue states in US foreign policy discourse. Most importantly, what is often missing from the nuclear debate is the fact that the United States is the only power to have ever used nuclear weapons aside from testingwhen it dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima inwith horrific and devastating loss of life.
Therefore, for postcolonial scholars such as Shampa Biswasthe notion that some states can be trusted with nuclear weapons while others cannot because they are less developed, less mature in their approach to human life or less rational is a racialised discourse. In debates such as these, postcolonialism asks not who can be trusted with such weapons, but rather who determines who can be trusted — and why?
Simply looking at the competition between states to accrue nuclear weapons will not tell us enough about the workings of power in international relations — such as how a nuclear arms race is underpinned by the power of some states to construct other states so that they are deemed not capable of having any such weapons at all.
She called for an alternative, critical and distinctive feminist activism and politics. Women who share the same ethnic identity might experience sexism in different ways because of their class. The fact that some black women may be more privileged in relation to class may not take away from their experience of racism. Postcolonial feminists share a desire to go beyond simply analysing the impacts of patriarchy, gender inequality and sexual exploitation. Instead, they highlight the need to fight not only patriarchy broadly understood as the power of men over women but also the classism and racism that privileges white women over women of colour.
To them, it was a symbol of opposition to white, colonial patriarchy. Postcolonial feminists are committed to an intersectional approach that uncovers the deeper implications of how and why systemic violence evident in war, conflict, terror, poverty, social inequality and so forth has taken root.
Introducing Postcolonialism in International Relations Theory
Understanding power thus requires paying attention to these intersections and how they are embedded in the issue at hand. As a first consequence, it seems that the post-modernist second order argument is a too heavy burden for post-colonialism. In the following, my argument goes like that: After reflection, I do not think so. On the opposite, I am really convinced that avoiding the liaison dangereuse between post-colonialism and post-modernism can help to promote a reasonable discursive path in the global setting.
If a narrative, based on sound reasons, like post-colonialism, does not find a discursive path, then it will blow up in pieces with destructive consequences, both materially and spiritually.
Note that I am not suggesting that post-colonial theories are responsible for this.
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Colonial exploitation and hegemony get the real responsibility, to do not speak of some Western blindness as inability to see the asymmetry between the theory and the practice of liberal-democracy in the global setting. I am quite conscious of the ambition and the difficulty connected with my principal aim. The de-construction of the part of the theoretical bulk of post-colonialism in IR is not an easy task.
For example, it would be normal to criticize the assumption that a sophisticated philosophical methodology, like post-modernism, can have immediate practical consequences. Or it is not difficult to object that my presentation of post-modernism looks like a too thin silhouette, being in other words more a caricature than a fair account. Eventually, however, my claim is not so bizarre. It is a claim in favor of more objectivity and universality in approaching cultural politics from a post-colonial point of view.
Of course, here the objection from within post-colonialism is that universalism and objectivity are forms of disguised Euro-centric political culture. I am just suggesting that without universalism and objectivity even the right claims implicit in post-colonial political culture cannot be appropriately formulated and communicated. That is why what I am trying to argue is in the end neither too complex nor exceedingly controversial. For I am saying that post-colonialism should care more about universal discourse whereas Western liberals should care more about the effects of cultural side of political theory I will omit the second part of the argument —concerning liberalism- in this paper.
The conclusion of the argument is quite clear: As far the economy of this article is concerned, it is divided in three sections: In this section, I try to sketch some basic tenets of post-colonialism as political culture. Here, I summarize what I called the first order argument for post-colonialism, that is the core of its normative and substantive theses. Roughly speaking, I think that there is not too much to object to this first order argument. In so doing, my methodology is voluntarily simplifying, and I do not pretend to be complete in listing some among the main tenets of post-colonialism.
Rather, I have in mind only the general structure of a widespread social-scientific literature such as post-colonialism and the reasons for its main claims. In the following, I will specially draw my theses from an analysis of the Indian tradition, even if I think that they are potentially more general and could apply to the whole post-colonial literature.
My presentation does not intend to be particularly rigorous from a historical point of view. It just aims at providing a minimal framework for the general theoretical purpose of this paper. Its configuration is complex, being a diasporic product in which indigenous and cosmopolitan elements merge this is particularly evident in post-colonial art.
Post-colonialism is basically a mixture of local culture and general political principles. All this is contaminated and spread out by the political activism of many movements, going from proper political parties to mass migration groups, from sophisticated intellectual elites to suburban activism. From this point of view, there is an inherent ambiguity in post-colonialism, being post-colonialism both a historical trend and a mode of theoretical analysis.
Among the main tenets of post-colonial political culture are the following ones: The cement of post-colonial political culture is surely the consensus against the legacy of western colonialism. European expansion in the period is condemned from a shared moral point of view.
In particular, what is in the focus of post-colonialism is the cultural —rather than economic or military- dominance of the West. The political culture of colonial states coincided with an apology of western modernity, conceived both as the final destination of global civilization and the normative point from which history must be reconsidered.
According to the generality of post-colonial thinkers, the trade-off between this supposed exportation of modernity and the costs for the colonized in terms of exploitation, humiliation and sufferance have been tragically negative. Global universal justice in fact cannot approve systematic exploitation, humiliation and sufferance. This straightforward thesis is however made impossible by the strong and reasonable anti-Eurocentric background of the post-colonial paradigm.
In complex ways, modernity, capitalism and universalism are associated by post-colonial political culture. Modernity implies —in this view- an original form of stability detached from metaphysics and related to the public culture of liberal-democracy Rawls and Habermas are paradigmatic from this point of view.
This shift, from metaphysics to public culture, is promoted by capitalism and affirmed by European colonialism. That is why the legacy of European modernity is so controversial from the post-colonial point of view. The core of modern public culture is supposed to be however universalism. Post-colonial thinkers often see universalism as the other face of Eurocentrism.
That is why anti-colonialism, anti-Eurocentrism, anti-modernism and anti-universalism are —for many post-colonial thinkers- all aspects of the same unacceptable package. This stage makes difficult the relation between post-colonial and liberal political culture.
The common core of different forms of localism consists in denouncing the cultural hegemony Gramsci of the West, proposing on the other hand the richer cultural background of some local cultures Gandhi. There are different degrees of localism, also in dependence of the center-periphery location of the specific culture discussed. Assuming that the core of Euro-centrism is Atlantic, one could distinguish for example a Mediterranean peripheral localism from an Oriental one.
One of the typical claims of post-colonial political culture consists in the emphasis on neglected populations, in an attempt to rescue their expressivity and role. Again here, the scope of this movements toward the margins can be highly differentiated. Generally speaking, one can imagine three different levels of distinction: Whereas the moral condemnation of Western culture is ubiquitous, the emphasis on the separation between local elite and marginal people is typically post-colonial. This stage permits to disconnect post-colonialism —which divides elites from marginal people- from anti-colonialist and nationalist trends —which did not.
At the same time, the emphasis on marginal people makes post-colonial political culture near to traditional Marxism more Sartre than Althusser .
What is really extraneous to post-colonial political culture is Marxist economicism Note however that there are also religious interpretations of Marxisms. From this point of view, post-colonialism is much more spiritually oriented than Western culture including Marxism. In this perspective, Marxism and liberalism are both targets of post-colonialism in the measure in which they over-emphasize rationality in the motivational set of the individual and in the reconstruction of history.
Religions can be rediscovered —within a post-colonial horizon- in different ways, ranging from the most spiritual and apolitical to the more politicized like often in the Islamic world. Almost superfluous to say, it is quite impossible to disentangle the religious revival form the localist trend and the traditionalist sympathies of post-colonialism.
Counter-history can be presented in at least two different ways: With the time the marginalized colonial subject begins to be separated from the bourgeois nationalists, being post-colonial story told from the perspective of the first rather than of the second. This trend implies a re-politicization of subaltern masses seen as the real victim of exploitation and hegemony. In such a way the theory of culture intersects the theory of change.
The attempt is of course to make this new subaltern point of view hegemonic in an original way. Cognitive failure is consequently denounced when the counter-historical interpretation is confronted with traditional historiography. Here, the counter-history point lies in a critique of the historicist argument according to which the history of the East is a primitive phase of world history which culminated in the Western epiphany.
This thesis is typically Hegelian-marxist but can be also liberal. The recommendation for the colonized here is to wait. The opposition here is with the idea that the colonial world is someway pre-political.
In this Section, I recapitulate some elements taken from what I called the second order argument for post-colonialism, that is its meta-theoretical apparatus based on post-modernist thought. As I anticipated, on this point my view is critical.
Of course, it would be preposterous if not absurd to present post-modernism in few lines pages. This is the reason why here I just try to sketch some guidelines of a sub-set of postmodernist visions to see how it influences the post-colonial movement.
By post-modernism here I mean a philosophical climate characterized by the rejection of western modern philosophy from Descartes to Kant with their contemporary descendants like analytical philosophy with all its political consequences.
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This philosophical climate includes a skeptical attitude toward modern epistemology and metaphysics and their claim to knowledge. Philosophical post-modernism presents itself in conjunction with similar cultural patterns in esthetics and political theory.
In political theory, which concerns us more, post-modernism is usually associated with the condemnation of great meta-narratives Lyotard and Jameson up to Rorty from Marx to Rawls.
Against the rigor of logical argument, post-moderns make a plea for the force of rhetoric and the metaphorical significance implicit in the artistic works. In such way, they contrast modernist universalism in name of the absolute specificity of particular life-worlds and forms of knowledge, main consequence of this contrast being taken up as a rejection of philosophical foundationalism.
In opposition to foundationalism, post-modern authors privilege heterogeneity, fragmentation, particularity, contingency, localism. On the other hand, post-modernism presents itself as a dramatic revision of modern subjectivity, around which the Descartes-Kant view was centered.
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Against the universalistic, noumenal and mentalist self, post-moderns invoke an embodied subject whose partition is revealed by the relevance of the Freudian unconscious.
Against the rational subject of modernity, post-moderns launch their claim for the economy of desire and the power of the irrational. Against the unencumbered individual of the Kantian legacy, post-moderns emphasize the social character of the person. The negative discourse about the subject, inaugurated by Levi-Strauss, becomes -especially in Foucault and Derrida- the starting point for a radical critique of modernity.
Following the interpretation of Heidegger and Nietzsche, already since the period between the two world wars of the twentieth century, some French intellectuals began to nourish anti-Western sentiments in matters concerning metaphysics and politics. In this unusual way, they often became anti-colonial before the time of post-modernism.
Francois Fanon and Jean Paul Sartre represent, in different moods, this anti-colonial attitude, and can be considered among the forerunners of the Western influence on post-colonialism.