Redeeming the universal: postcolonialism and the inner life of Eurocentrism

Matin, Kamran (2013) Redeeming the universal: postcolonialism and the inner life of Eurocentrism. European Journal of International Relations, 19 (2). pp. 353-377. ISSN 1354-0661

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his article investigates the limits of postcolonial International Relations’ anti- Eurocentrism through an interrogation of its ambivalent relation with the category of ‘the universal.’ It argues that a decisive defeat of Eurocentrism, within and beyond International Relations, requires the formulation of a non-ethnocentric international social theory which postcolonial approaches, à la poststructuralism, reject on the grounds that it involves the idea of the universal equated with socio-cultural homogeneity. Yet, postcolonial approaches also theorize colonial modernity through deploying forms of methodological internationalism that broach the universal. Through a critical engagement with the wider field of postcolonial theory, and an anatomy of the notion of the universal in Hegel and Trotsky, this article argues that homogeneity is not an intrinsic quality of the concept of the universal, but a result of its specifically internalist mode of construction. Supplanting Eurocentrism therefore requires an explicit theoretical incorporation of the universal. But one which is fundamentally rethought away from being an immanent self-transcendence of the particular, and re- comprehended as a radical amenability to, and constitutiveness of, alterity. This is, the article argues, a defining feature of Trotsky’s idea of uneven and combined development.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology > HM0481 Theory. Method. Relations to other subjects
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology > HM0831 Social change
J Political Science > JZ International relations > JZ0024 Societies, associations, academies, institutes, etc., for the study of international relations
J Political Science > JZ International relations > JZ1305 Scope of international relations. Political theory. Diplomacy
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Depositing User: Kamran Matin
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2012 08:17
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 23:43

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