Materializing the ‘non-Western’: two stories of Japanese philosophers on culture and politics in the inter-war period

This paper investigates the risk presumably involved in the narratives of non- Western international relations theory (IRT) by focusing on a similar historical case in Japan. It reveals the risk of uncritically accepted geographical division, and particularly focuses on the discourses of the Kyoto School’s theory of world history as an example of non-Western narratives in the past, which was to ‘overcome’ the Western civilization similar to the contemporary non-Western IRT. However, they are also infamous for providing justification for the wartime regime in Japan for their aggression in the Asian continent. What is the connection between their philosophy and support for the imperialist regime? If there is a connection between them, is there any possibility of the resurrection of the same results in the case of non-Western IRT? To answer these questions, the article introduces the philosophy of Tosaka Jun who was critical of the School but, unlike Kyoto School philosophers, stubbornly fought against the mainstream politics of the time.

Decolonising International Relations and Its Theory: A Critical Conceptual Meditation

One of the main implications of the push for transition from the monoculture of Eurocentric scientific knowledge towards the ecology of knowledge is to force us to pose the question: what does a decolonial turn in International Relations (IR) entail? This article grapples with this question in light of growing demands for a decolonial turn in knowledge and power. The aim is to meditate on this question with a view to open up new avenues for a structured conversation on decolonising IR and its theory. This imperative to decolonise is linked to the question of epistemic justice with implications for the epistemological structure underpinning IR, methodological frameworks for the study of IR, theoretical outlines and the teaching of the discipline. Epistemic justice is a necessity alongside historical justice for those on the margins of a world system constructed with the help of imperialism, systematic enslavement and colonialism. This article discusses the question of the decolonial turn in IR in the hope of stimulating debates on the views of the margins regarding the present state and the future of this area of knowledge, and thus move us closer to an ecology of knowledge and power.

A Relational Theory of World Politics

Culture matters in social theory construction because the metaphysical component of the theoretical hard core is primarily shaped by the background knowledge of a cultural community. Individual rationality, a key concept abstracted from Western culture, constitutes the nucleus for much of mainstream Western International Relations Theory. This article proposes a relational theory of world politics with relationality as the metaphysical component of its theoretical hard core. It conceives the International Relations (IR) world as one composed of ongoing relations, assumes international actors as actors-in-relations, and takes processes defined in terms of relations in motion as ontologically significant. It puts forward the logic of relationality, arguing that actors base their actions on relations in the first place. It uses the Chinese zhongyong dialectics as its epistemological schema for understanding relationships in an increasingly complex world. This theoretical framework may enable us to see the IR world from a different perspective, reconceptualize key elements such as power and governance, and make a broader comparison of international systems for the enrichment of the Global IR project.