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    Rights statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Cambridge Review of International Affairs on 30/07/2019, available online: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09557571.2019.1641470

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Relationality and rationality in Confucian and Western traditions of thought

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/07/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>Cambridge Review of International Affairs
Issue number5
Volume32
Number of pages14
Pages (from-to)601-614
Publication statusPublished
Early online date30/07/19
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This paper provides a theoretical sketch of relationality within the field of International Relations (IR). It argues, contrary to what many IR scholars hold, that representation is practice: academic representation reflects the background of a community of practice and highlights what is embodied therein. Therefore, different cultural communities have different practices and draw from different background knowledge. Rationality, which serves as the dominant foundation for background knowledge within many Western communities of practice, permeates mainstream IR theory. Relationality performs a similar role in traditionally Confucian communities of practice, where relations enjoy a distinct ontological status over individual rationality. A relational theory assumes (1) that self-existence coincides with other-existence and coexistence, and (2) that self-interest coincides with other-interest. Based on these assumptions, it argues that relations select, meaning that in a social situation actors base their action on relations in the first place and that rationality is and can only be defined in terms of relations. The article uses the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as an example to elaborate its theoretical point.

Bibliographic note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Cambridge Review of International Affairs on 30/07/2019, available online: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09557571.2019.1641470