The What, Who and Where of World Politics? Two Different Conceptions of ‘the International’


Neslihan DIKMEN-ALSANCAK* and Mine Nur KUCUK**

Limitations pertaining to the discipline of International Relations (IR) in its approach to the non-core parts of the world have been debated over the last several decades. This paper looks at the contributions of two significant bodies of scholarship, namely Third World IR and postcolonial IR, to this conversation and questions whether there have been any differences regarding how ‘the international’ is understood in these two bodies of scholarship. Such an analysis is significant, argues the paper, because their conceptions of ‘the international’ inform how the limitations of IR and the place of the non-core in world politics can be understood. To this end, the paper looks at questions that constitute conceptions of ‘the international,’ namely, the what, who, and where of world politics. We conclude by enumerating the commonalities and differences between these two bodies of scholarship and discussing the implications of our findings for studying non-core and world politics.

Keywords: Third World, Global South, Non-Core; International, Critical IR Approaches


* Dr., Bilkent University, Department of International Relations
** Assist. Prof. Dr., Yeditepe University, Department of Political Science and International Relations