By Scarlett Cornelissen
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Extra info for Africa and International Relations in the 21st Century
Scarlett Cornelissen, Fantu Cheru and Timothy M. Shaw 13 Indeed, to the extent that Africa has been incorporated into IR theory, it has been so in a way that has disconnected several connected realities. Lemke (2003) and Brown (2006) question whether contemporary ‘African’ IR is different and, if so, whether it presents challenges and changes for the comparative ﬁeld of IR elsewhere. In particular, they query whether IR in Africa poses signiﬁcance for transnational relations outside the continent: that is, does the general, comparative ﬁeld need to evolve away from a lingering over-emphasis on formal inter-state relations towards belated recognition of non-state (both civil society and corporate) actors?
Individualist worldview and international relations scholarship Global life can be examined through several lenses, yet many IR scholars in English-speaking countries tend to employ the individualist worldview. This sees persons as autonomous, self-bounded and independent of one another (Baumeister, 1998; Oyserman and Markus, 1993; Triandis, 2001). It also emphasizes the private self over group identity; accentuates the differentness and uniqueness of persons; prioritizes personal goals over group objectives; cherishes personal success more than group achievements; and, ﬁnally, gives higher priority to personal interests than to in-group interests (Hsu, 1983; Kagitcibasi, 1994; Kim, 1994; Markus and Kitayama, 1991; Triandis, 1995).
Similarly, Barnett’s (2001) work is an important example of how constructivism may offer an alternative to bringing in the Third World. One could also mention the contributions made by postcolonial theory, historical sociology and other critical theories such as feminism. As Engel and Olsen (2005a, p. 5), however, point out, these ‘radical contributions remained more or less isolated from the general debates between the other IR schools’. In addition, most of these theories, with perhaps the exception of postcolonial theory, are still limited in that they share with mainstream theory a reliance on Western philosophy and a Eurocentric framing of world history.
Africa and International Relations in the 21st Century by Scarlett Cornelissen