A short(ish) piece I contributed to the Political Studies Association (PSA). It This blog post draws on and reflects upon a chapter with the same title to be published in International Relations Theory Today, 2nd ed., Ken Booth and Toni Erskine, eds. (Polity 2016).
Renaming of the rooms at the conference hotel of the upcoming EISA conference at Giardini Naxos has disappointed many. The Tumbler post ‘congratulated’ EISA for having chosen all male thinkers. Cai Wilkinson’s blog post pointed to the male and ‘European’ bias in the selection of names.
This paper argues that the difficult relationship between Middle East Studies (MES) and International Relations (IR) is an instance of the age-old gap between area studies and social science disciplines—a gap that may have grown wider in the aftermath of the Arab uprisings, see Morten Valbjorn in this forum. The development and persistence of this gap has meant that the students of MES and IR often do not engage with each other’s work, see Stefan Stetter in this forum. In what follows, I will first identify two aspects of the gap between students of area studies and IR, discuss its implications for the study of security, and then suggest one model for communication: by giving up those assumptions of “universalism” that are actually based on observations of rather “particular” phenomena, and by paying attention to others’ conceptions of “security.” Here, I define “others” as those who happen not to be located on or near the top of hierarchies in world politics, enjoying unequal influence in shaping various dynamics, including their own portrayal in world politics.