Ecological Relations: Towards an Inclusive Politics of the Earth

By Susan Board | Go to book overview

3

System building and 'game openings'

Seeking an inclusive attitude for excluded ecological relations

If Foucault is to have an 'influence' it will no doubt be as a slayer of dragons, a breaker of systems. Such a task should not be seen as negative; indeed it is the system-building that is the real negation. 1

What I say ought to be taken as 'propositions', 'game openings' where those who may be interested are invited to join in; they are not meant as dogmatic assertions that have to be taken or left en bloc. 2

Following the previous two chapters, which have outlined the need to adopt a less exclusive reading of International Relations (IR) and to adopt an ecological perspective, this chapter aims to demonstrate how an approach adopted from the writings of French philosopher, Michel Foucault, allows for conceptual and theoretical consideration of Ecological Relations. As demonstrated previously, IR has been constructed to logically dismiss the ecological dimension to politics. Indeed, the discipline of IR maintains an imperialist attitude towards all relations upon earth determining both knowledge and behaviour; and an environmental, rather than an ecological, response is the only easily accommodated response for it suppresses the ecological import. Thus, the discipline's reactionary and transcendental attitude to politics over the lived realities of here and now incites radical revisioning.

Specifically, four points lead me to believe that an approach adopted from Foucault's literature will prise open IR's ranks to ecological relations: 1, the open attitude to political praxis; 2, the holistic interpretation of societal power; 3, the playful attitude regarding discursive terms; and 4, the conceptual freedom to consider subjects beyond anthropocentric, androcentric and Western norms.

The first reason for choosing to construct a metalanguage from Michel Foucault's 'political philosophy' 3 is based upon his displacement of the stranglehold of sovereignty, wherever it is found and however it is formalised. Foucault viewed politics, as practised and theorised, as limitations on life-experiences; a constraining effect that bore little relation to the possibilities of life. 4 In his private and academic life he strove to push beyond the boundaries of these binding conceptual and epistemological parameters, which were

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Ecological Relations: Towards an Inclusive Politics of the Earth
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - The Exclusivity of International Relations 9
  • Notes 30
  • 2 - Understandings of an Ecological Perspective 36
  • Notes 60
  • 3 - System Building and 'Game Openings' 67
  • 4 - Ecological Relations 97
  • 5 - Ecological Relations 138
  • Notes 170
  • 6 - Ecological Relations 177
  • Notes 217
  • Conclusion 227
  • Index 237
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