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  • Futures beyond the West, Final Author version, as accepted.01.04.2015

    Rights statement: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=RIS The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Review of International Studies, 42 (1), pp 156-177 2016, © 2016 Cambridge University Press.

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Futures beyond “the West”?: autoimmunity in China’s harmonious world

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>01/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Review of International Studies
Issue number1
Volume42
Number of pages22
Pages (from-to)156-177
Publication statusPublished
Early online date9/06/15
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

It has become fashionable amongst International Relations scholars to draw on the concept of “autoimmunity”, which some call “the ultimate horizon in which contemporary politics inscribes itself”. To these scholars, most of whom draw on the thought of Jacques Derrida, such logics open systems up to a future to come. At the same time, they tend to identify such logics with Europe, America, Western modernity and/or democracy. Implied, and sometimes explicit, in their accounts is the denial of autoimmune logics at work outside such an imagined configuration.
This paper challenges that denial through arguing that the system of “harmony”, deployed in contemporary China, also works on an autoimmune logic. If autoimmunity opens up a system to the future, this is not only so for European democracy or its derivatives. Moreover, the expulsion of “non-Western” others from accounts of autoimmunity undermines their rethinking of difference by falling back on an immunitary logic, denying China an open future. This exclusion is their condition of possibility. At the same time, this exclusion is what keeps open their promise of its future to come. Paradoxically, the exclusion of the “non- West” is what keeps the idea of an autoimmune “Western” or European democracy alive.

Bibliographic note

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=RIS The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Review of International Studies, 42 (1), pp 156-177 2016, © 2016 Cambridge University Press.