The post always rings twice? The Algerian War, poststructuralism and the postcolonial in IR theory Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • AbstractThis article makes the case for rethinking the relation between poststructuralism and postcolonialism, by building on the claims advanced by Robert Young, Azzedine Haddour and Pal Ahluwalia that the history of deconstruction coincides with the collapse of the French colonial system in Algeria, and with the violent anti-colonial struggle that ensued. I choose to examine narratives of theorists such as Derrida, Lyotard, and Cixous because not only they provide the link between colonial violence, the poststructuralist project that ensued, and postcolonialism, but also because the problems I identify with their projects are replicated by much poststructuralist work in International Relations (IR). I signal that one of the most significant consequences of conducting poststructuralist research without attention to postcolonial horizons lies in the idealisation of the marginalised, the oppressed or the native without attending to the complexity of her position, voice or agency. Bringing these theories together aims to highlight the need for a dialogue, within IR, between poststructuralism's desire to disrupt the disciplinarity of the field, and postcolonialism's potential to transcend the self-referential frame of IR by introducing perspectives, (hi)stories, and voices from elsewhere.

publication date

  • January 2012