How do we ‘decolonise’ the field of International Relations? The aim to decolonise has become a widely discussed and mentioned subject across the social sciences and humanities. The article aims to discuss what ‘decolonisation’ might mean in the context of the field of International Relations.
There have been debates on the meaning and appropriateness of the term Global South. To many, no unifying term can apply to regions and countries whose differences extent to the colonial past, cultural traditions, economic trajectories, and administrative or organizational structures. The critics are mistaken. This essay postulates that the term Global South is a symbolic designation with political implications. It is meant to capture a cohesion that emerged when former colonial entities engaged in political projects of decolonization and moved toward the realization of a postcolonial international order. As it stands today, the Global South has its origins in twentieth-century anti-colonialism, the 1955 Bandung Conference, the 1961 NonAligned Movement, and Cuba’s Tricontinentalism, among others.
Although the term Global South gained currency at the end of the Cold War, when the term Third World seemed to fall into disfavor, the change does not signify a renunciation of the ‘Third World.’ It merely signals an adjustment in ideological and political positioning to reflect the new forms of contentions around the legacies of colonialism. Thus, the Global South captures the spirit of Third World engagements in that it continues to invite re-examinations of the intellectual, political, and moral foundations of the international system. The Global South is therefore a multifaceted movement that underscores the need for a postcolonial international community of interest that advances the objectives of equality, freedom, and mutuality in the form of a new ethos of power and subjectivity through
foreign policy, international solidarity, and responsibility to self and others in an international order free of the institutional legacies of colonialism. Finally, as a movement, the Global South has no central structure, no central command, and no appointed spokesperson. It has had multiple custodians, all of them self-selected, in reaction to the deepening and multifaceted violence experienced at the moment by its members.