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Intellectuals, international relations and the constant emergency

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2011
JournalThird World Quarterly
Journal number9
Volume32
Number of pages18
Pages1673-1690
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

In this essay, I return to Hans Morgenthau's and Hannah Arendt's writings on the Vietnam war and US foreign policy, which explored questions of bureaucracy, technology, emergency. On one level the essays they wrote illustrate the extent to which the discipline of International Relations (IR) has now caught up with the analyses of politics and war that they were developing in the 1960s and 1970s. We begin to see how lines of thought in Morgenthau's writing connect directly with the work of a younger generation of scholars interested in the work of intellectuals like Giorgio Agamben on the dangers of a security-obsessed politics in a ‘state of emergency’ or ‘state of exception’, or how Arendt's and Morgenthau's work on bureaucracy and war is explored in contemporary work; from a pedagogical perspective, drawing out these connections creates the possibility of a different, potentially more subversive, way of introducing students to the discipline of IR