Importance Of African Perspective On International Relations

Decent Essays

International relations (IR) focuses on the behaviors and interactions of states. Walt (1998), argues that IR is guided its dominant paradigms: realism, liberalism, and constructivism. Nevertheless, other scholars focus on perspectives that are informed by regional history. For example, Smith (2009) suggests that African perspectives can inform IR theory. In this essay, I will discuss how African perspectives inform IR theory. First, I’ll discuss the focus of African perspectives. Second, I’ll discuss how the African perspective informs IR theory. Third, and finally, I’ll conclude with a summary of the main points of the essay. African perspectives, provide political, social, and economic context and cultural experiences that are crucial to IR theory. Specifically, African perspectives focus on the importance of contextual and cultural differences between Africa and the rest of the world to enrich IR theory. The African context is dominated by diversity yet it is still marginalized from core IR theory. The contextual differences between the political, social, and economic environments between Africa and the world have distinct implications for “the practice and study of international relations.” (Smith 272). One of the chief contextual differences is the distinction of states in Africa being states solely in name. The state-centrism of western IR theory is thus not acknowledged in African perspectives as states are not considered the main focus. This retreat from state

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