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By Beate Jahn

Classical political theorists resembling Thucydides, Kant, Rousseau, Smith, Hegel, Grotius, Mill, Locke and Clausewitz are frequently hired to provide an explanation for and justify modern foreign politics and are visible to represent the various colleges of proposal within the self-discipline. despite the fact that, conventional interpretations usually forget about the highbrow and ancient context during which those thinkers have been writing in addition to the lineages during which they got here to be appropriated in diplomacy. This selection of essays offers substitute interpretations delicate to those political and highbrow contexts and to the trajectory in their appropriation. The political, sociological, anthropological, felony, financial, philosophical and normative dimensions are proven to be constitutive, not only of classical theories, yet of overseas proposal and perform within the modern international. additionally, they problem conventional bills of undying debates and colleges of notion and supply new conceptions of middle matters corresponding to sovereignty, morality, legislation, estate, imperialism and service provider.

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And such reinterpretation clearly entails the potential to transform the nature and definition of the discipline itself. This collection of interpretations of classical authors based on the analysis of their intellectual and political context as well as on the trajectories of their appropriation in the discipline aims to demonstrate the rich potential of classical texts for the study of international relations. And this potential lies in three different but interrelated areas. Firstly, the analyses presented here all contribute to a broader conception of the discipline itself based on the recovery of the predisciplinary intellectual context of classical thought.

Reid shows, however, that Clausewitz plays an equally important role in the development of modern counter-strategic thought. Foucault as well as Deleuze and Guattari have taken Clausewitz’s concept of war and tied it to the development of modern power not restricted to the state. And as such, war becomes a ‘condition of possibility for the development of new forms of political subjectivity’ which undermines the traditional disciplinary control of the state. This account, apart from opening up the possibility of an alternative reading of Clausewitz and its potential application to the analysis of contemporary non-state actors and political movements, also disrupts the traditional disciplinary definition by delinking power and war from the state; in other words, by seriously questioning the inside/outside distinction so prominent in International Relations.

Moreover, this reinterpretation also challenges poststructural and postcolonial positions. For it shows, firstly, that the European ‘self’ is an internally fractured rather than an undivided entity opposed to a non-European ‘other’; and, secondly, that both Kant and Hegel engage in ‘othering’ – but from a ‘backward’ rather than a hegemonic position. On the basis of this argument, International Relations is not confronted with the problem of choosing between a universalist and a particularist ethical position, but rather with the challenge of developing an ethical position towards ‘difference’ in the first place.

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