chapter  12
By way of conclusion: forget IR?
ByArlene B. Tickner
Pages 19

Collective experience is central to knowledge-building. Recognizing that knowledge is rooted in the everyday practices and experiences of distinct social groups implies that meaningful sense-making activities take place at all levels of society, and are not limited to what is normally defined as “authoritative” within a given field of study. Accepting that there are myriad ways of knowing reality leads to important questions concerning what it means to know, who legitimately knows, where knowers are situated, how certain issues achieve importance as objects of study and what the purpose of knowledge (and theory) itself is. Post-positivist strains of scholarship, in particular feminism and postcolonialism,

have made significant inroads in identifying the limitations of neo-positivism for meaningful and critical social research. Most importantly, neo-positivism has been blamed for normalizing and legitimizing hegemonic strains of knowledge, and marginalizing others, reinforcing asymmetrical power relations in both scholarly and political practice. Taking critiques of modern Western science and its exploitative role seriously has meant recognizing the social positionality of knowledge, and acknowledging a plurality of worldviews that have been eclipsed by dominant knowledge projects, among them the field of International Relations (IR). Despite the growing popularity of reflexivity within IR, academic self-

reflection itself has fallen short of “transgressing and subverting the existing disciplinary doxa” (Hamati-Ataya 2013: 5)—avowedly its intended role-by examining how everyday academic experience conditions scholarly knowledge, including its most critical variants. Similarly, Ann Tickner’s (2006: 393) call that “we … ask ourselves how our scholarship and teaching in this new age of empire might contribute, even unknowingly, to dividing the world” has gone largely unheeded.