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Post-Structuralism

PS is the most philosophical theory we have studied so far. Encompasses a wide variety of strands of thought, and there is no one school, PSs dont like to be termed as PSs, instead rather critical thinkers. PS focuses on Truth, power and ethics. They are mutually constitutive, intermittently intertwined. CLAIM 1: there are no universals; i.e. state, anarchy, o Therefore cannot explain anything, rather the universals must be explained. Nietzsche; Never saw himself as a theorist and was primarily against philosophy. o He is the breaker of systems, rather than philosophers trying to create a system of understanding. o On the geniality of morality, those things we take as universal, e.g. morality, are historical contingents. o He tried to break the idea that these things are timeless (they all have a history). CLAIM 2: If knowledge is a reflection of power, then: 1. We must be very suspect of truth claims. E.g. Realist claim that war is driven by anarchy. 2. We must ask questions such as: a. Whose worldview does this theory support? b. What kinds of foreign policy does it c. Who does it marginalize? Problems and Knowledge o Heideggers Carpenter: the carpenter can hammer nails all day and have a philosophical conversation at the same time and that 95% of the things we do dont require thinking. We dont think about getting through a door to get out of a room. Throwing a ball with right hand is instrumental, but when you try to throw with left arm you need to think about it even though you know how to throw/carpenter switching hands to hammer nails. 1. We rarely think. This is because most knowledge is instrumental. 2. We are only forced to think when we encounter a problem. The rest of the time we are quite content to rely on habits which we do not question. 3. Facing a problem we are forced to think PS in IR: 1. A focus on practice in IR a. E.g. Diplomacy b. Foreign Policy

2. A focus on technologies in IR: instrumentalised knowledge which allows us to do things without thinking about it a. Insurance and risk 3. A focus on problems as events in IR a. E.g. IR and the problem/event of Great Power War, Events, Catastrophes CLAIM 3: We require a new critique of IR Neo-realism used as a tool to train state dept. workers, o Critique: Genealogy: revealing the role of power has played in the constitution of knowledge. Taking things we take to be common sense, e.g. morality and gender relations, are not immediately obvious and have histories Problematisation: Making claims or concepts normally held to be common-sense, problematic or difficult to sustain. War on terror is based on the premise that we are fighting religious fanatical others, this allows us to justify military action, and these practices brutal but now commonplace, and we need to break these down in order to de-normalise them. Like critical theory o Stress the role of power in supporting traditional theories o SEE SLIDES. Truth and Power: o Foucault, the politics of truth A different account of power. Power is not a substance. it is a relation. i.e. US is losing power, China is gaining power, suggesting it is a substance. For PS it isnt a substance and cant be measured, it is a relationship of power. E.g. state has interest and exercises power over different states, instead These relations from broader networks. Truth isnt corrupted by power. Power is constitutive of truth. There is no objective truth o Power is not only repressive, but is also productive. E.g. a cctv camera prevents you in acting in a certain way, but encourages you to act in a positive way Ethical Implications: Unlike Critical Theorists o Believe that power cannot be wholly eradicated o Dont believe that there is an objective truth which can be revealed when power is eradicated. o Critique must be ongoing. We will never achieve a point (utopia) where we no longer need to work and critique. It is an ongoing process where we will never get to a perfect world like Marxists etc. believe in. this does not mean they are not striving for a better world, just that we can continue to improve and critique.