Inquiring into the international in security
Studying security in a world characterised by multiple inequalities and diﬀerences entails reﬂecting on others’ conceptions of the international. However, as we saw in Chapter 3, accessing others’ conceptions of the international has turned out to be a challenge for students of International Relations. Those who sought to locate others’ conceptions of the international in their IR scholarship found ‘similarity’ and were disenchanted in their eﬀorts. Those who turned to texts and contexts outside IR and/or North America and Western Europe found ‘diﬀerence’, yet their ﬁndings have yet to be fully integrated into our theorising about IR and security. Chapter 4 oﬀered one way of turning ‘similarity’ into a research agenda, by reading others’ IR scholarship as an aspect of world politics (and not only as an attempt to explain or understand world politics). More speciﬁcally, I suggested that others’ IR scholarship could be read as responding to insecurities experienced in a world that is already worlded by IR. This, I called, ‘security in the international’. In doing so, I oﬀered an answer to one of the two questions that the book set out to respond to: How is it that IR scholarship in other parts of the world does not reﬂect the kind of ‘diﬀerence’ found in texts and contexts outside IR and/or the ‘West’, but adopts those ‘standard’ concepts of the ﬁeld, notwithstanding their well-known limits? Chapter 5 responds to the other question that the book began with: How to
think about security in a world characterised by a multiplicity of inequalities and diﬀerences. By reﬂecting on others’ conceptions of the international as we study security, I answer. Inquiring into ‘the international in security’ is about locating others’ conceptions of the international in their ‘discourses of danger’ (Campbell, 1992). As such, I do not search for others’ conceptions of the international by travelling elsewhere (see Chapter 3) with a view to injecting that into the study of security afterwards. Rather, I draw upon postcolonial studies to gain insight into the insecurities of those who are caught up in hierarchies that were built and sustained during the age of colonialism and beyond. The chapter proceeds in the following manner. In the ﬁrst section, I draw on
postcolonial scholarship on India’s nuclear (weapons) programme to tease out India’s leaders’ conceptions of the international as reﬂected in their ‘discourses of danger’. In the second section, I suggest that studying others’ ‘discourses of danger’ as such allows the students of IR to go beyond surface understandings
of the postcolonial becoming ‘almost the same but not quite’ as mere imitation, but consider it as a response to insecurities shaped by (and shaping) their conception of the international. I term this conception of the international as ‘hierarchy in anarchical society’, capturing the anarchical, societal and hierarchical aspects of the international. The third section oﬀers an illustration in my reading of Turkey’s secularisation as part of an attempt to address the insecurities the country’s early twentieth-century leadership experienced in their encounters with the international society.