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Disciplining IR: 'Subjects Subject to Subjection'

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Abstract:

This paper is explicitly concerned with broad questions of international relations theory, and advances the argument that international relations theory is an identity practice. I develop this argument with reference to the production of Muslim identities in colonial Bengal. Notwithstanding the potential of this empirical case to shed light on some of the most enduring problems facing South Asia - not the least of which is communal conflict between Hindus and Muslims - international relations theory has positioned this case as a marginal site. However, I argue that this case can tell us a great deal about the world which we have made. It offers a position from which to consider ways in which identities are discursively produced, but it does so from a different ('unauthorised') place, a particular ('trivial'), local ('unimportant') place, from which it is possible to explore how, in Cynthia Enloe's words, the 'artifices of international politics are constructed.' I argue that it is only by disciplinary IR's terms that the production of identities in a colonial context has no relevance; as a marginalised group in a colonised political space, the ways in which the Bengal Muslims understood themselves cannot be separated from the ability of the powerful to constitute 'Others,' as Rob Walker has put it, as 'subjects subject to subjection.'
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Name: International Studies Association
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http://www.isanet.org


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MLA Citation:

Arnold, Samantha. "Disciplining IR: 'Subjects Subject to Subjection'" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, Town & Country Resort and Convention Center, San Diego, California, USA, Mar 22, 2006 <Not Available>. 2013-12-17 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p98041_index.html>

APA Citation:

Arnold, S. L. , 2006-03-22 "Disciplining IR: 'Subjects Subject to Subjection'" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, Town & Country Resort and Convention Center, San Diego, California, USA <Not Available>. 2013-12-17 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p98041_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: This paper is explicitly concerned with broad questions of international relations theory, and advances the argument that international relations theory is an identity practice. I develop this argument with reference to the production of Muslim identities in colonial Bengal. Notwithstanding the potential of this empirical case to shed light on some of the most enduring problems facing South Asia - not the least of which is communal conflict between Hindus and Muslims - international relations theory has positioned this case as a marginal site. However, I argue that this case can tell us a great deal about the world which we have made. It offers a position from which to consider ways in which identities are discursively produced, but it does so from a different ('unauthorised') place, a particular ('trivial'), local ('unimportant') place, from which it is possible to explore how, in Cynthia Enloe's words, the 'artifices of international politics are constructed.' I argue that it is only by disciplinary IR's terms that the production of identities in a colonial context has no relevance; as a marginalised group in a colonised political space, the ways in which the Bengal Muslims understood themselves cannot be separated from the ability of the powerful to constitute 'Others,' as Rob Walker has put it, as 'subjects subject to subjection.'

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