From the everyday to IR: in defence of the strategic use of the R-word

Olivia Rutazibwa

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Abstract

Rather than scrutinising who is a racist or not in John Hobson's seminal work on the scientific racism and Eurocentric institutionalism of a selection of canonical thinkers on world politics since 1760, this essay seeks to engage with its strategic reluctance to use racism as a lens to understand the post-1945 world. The aim is to draw attention to the fact that analytical categories, apart from imperfect attempts to render reality intelligible, are a deeply normative enterprise that implicitly or explicitly seek to render (parts of) reality for a certain purpose. Building on a vignette of the yearly racism-related debate around the figure of Zwarte Piet or Black Pete in contemporary Flanders, the text reflects on the extent to which R-word strategic reluctance, in public debates and IR alike, (dis)serves an anti-racist decolonial ethos and if and to what extent John Hobson's analytical choices unwillingly are a part of this.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-200
Number of pages10
JournalPostcolonial Studies
Volume19
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jan 2017

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