Global Voices: Dialogues in International Relations

Global Voices: Dialogues in International Relations

Global Voices: Dialogues in International Relations

Global Voices: Dialogues in International Relations

Synopsis

Who are these characters- Westfem and SAR, Tsitsi and SUKA, Mother Courage, SICC, and GORP- and what do they have to say about the state of contemporary international affairs? For a painless yet provocative introduction to some of the most ponderous issues in world politics today, consider this book of dialogues written by leading lights in international relations research, covering everything from the New World Order to the role of postmodernism in constructing an answer to the deconstruction of the Soviet Union. Global Voices develops as five different "dialoguers" spin out exchanges between and among such protagonists as the archetypal Senior American Researcher, his British and feminist counterparts, a thoughtful young Western feminist, her Third World alter ego, a concerned (but skeptical) citizen, and a set of postmodern personae as elusive as quicksilver. Youth and age, male and female, realist and idealist, science and art, Western and Third World- all find their voices represented here. Between the scenes, the characters' defenses come down along with the Berlin Wall, and the dialogues unravel in tandem with American hegemony, the Soviet republics, and gender-bound visions of "reality." This entertaining survey of issues, theory, and controversy in international relations is appropriate for readers both inside and outside the discipline, and is perfect for students who want to "listen in" on conversations that are reshaping the contours of international political thought as well as action.

Excerpt

Among the many global voices claiming to depict what moves the course of events, how does one go about selecting the most coherent, the most incisive, the most meaningful? What is the most expeditious way, in short, of comprehending the underpinnings of world politics? These questions have long puzzled and divided observers even during the rare stable moments of history. The dynamics underlying international behavior are so complex that no coherent and shared perspective has emerged to unify analysts. Rather, some have focused on the conduct of states, others on the functioning of economies, still others on the demands of societies -- to mention only some of the fault lines along which the divisions get played out. And hovering around the diverse foci of inquiry can be found feminists, realists, globalists, idealists, world-system analysts, transnationalists, postmodernists -- to cite only a few of the labels for the different schools of thought and conflicting paradigms, each of which is in turn subject to as many diverse interpretations as there are intellectual, temporal, national, class, and gender perspectives in which to cast them.

But if the large philosophical questions seem central during stable historical periods, their relevance in the present turbulent era of fragmenting states, faltering economies, and restless publics appears all the more compelling. The changes presently unfolding on the world stage are so vast, and the capacity of the extant paradigms to explain them seemingly so limited, that those seeking to comprehend the course of events have become especially sensitive to the need to go back to their theoretical drawing boards for guidance. Such is the purpose of the dialogues presented here. Our goal is to highlight competing ways of approaching world politics through an unusual method of inquiry that, we hope, serves to clarify and join some of the main issues posed by the turbulence that is transforming the global scene.

Our method is that of dialogue, a dramatic form that allows us to emphasize interpretation without concern for the constraints . . .

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