A methodological turn long overdue: or, why it is time for critical scholars to cut their losses

Knafo, Samuel (2017) A methodological turn long overdue: or, why it is time for critical scholars to cut their losses. In: Selby, Jan, Dyvik, Synne L and Wilkinson, Rorden (eds.) What's the point of international relations? Routledge, London, pp. 242-252. ISBN 9781138707306

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Abstract

Perspectivism, the idea that knowledge is always only a perspective on world politics, never a fully objective account of it, is perhaps the main foundation behind the emergence of critical approaches in the 1980s and 1990s. As a first step, this idea became a tool to highlight how mainstream approaches concealed class, patriarchal, or colonial interests, and more generally worldviews under the pretense of universal claims. Yet critical scholars rarely took the second step of working out the reflexive implications of perspectivism for the way they carry out their own work. Usually employed as a relativizing device, a means to celebrate diversity (Weldon 2006; Levine 2012), the perspectival nature of knowledge was never taken to place its own methodological demands on critical scholars. This chapter argues that the future of the discipline, or at least of its critical approaches, should be cast in the font of a methodological turn. I contend that it is time for critical scholars to move beyond their long infatuation with ontology in order to reflect concretely on the demands that perspectivism places on critical scholarship. For the challenge of critique does not consists in open promises to recognize complexity, but in the sober recognition that doing so forces us to make more difficult decisions as to what should be left out. In that respect, I will argue that the difficult part is not to open up doors, but rather to decide on which door to close

Item Type: Book Section
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
Research Centres and Groups: Centre for Global Political Economy
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General) > JA0071 Theory. Relation to other subjects
J Political Science > JA Political science (General) > JA0081 History
J Political Science > JZ International relations > JZ1249 Relation to other disciplines and topics
Depositing User: Samuel Knafo
Date Deposited: 10 Mar 2017 14:47
Last Modified: 10 Mar 2017 14:47
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/67054

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