By Scarlett Cornelissen
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Extra resources for Africa and International Relations in the 21st Century
The volume is organized around three core themes. First, on the understanding that the formal (state and substate) and informal 14 Introduction: Africa and IR in the 21st Century (non-state) domains carry equal signiﬁcance in shaping African IR, the volume explores shifting forms of sovereignty through multiple expressions of authority and the range of actors involved in this. Contributions by Karen Smith and Thomas Kwasi Tieku provide a conceptual foundation by reconsidering the place of Africa in the international system and the means by which the continent should be studied.
In exploring whether African insights can differ from those in other parts of the world, the notion of positionality, referring to the identity and position of the researcher in relation to the subject, is important. Shifting the position from which ideas are formulated may shed light on distinct aspects of global politics that dominant perspectives simply fail to see (Tickner, 2003a, p. 302). The different social, political, economic, cultural (including intellectual), historical, geographical and Karen Smith 25 ideological contexts found in the global South, in comparison with the North, thus provide potentially fertile ground for innovative perspectives on IR that may fall outside the intellectual framework of Northern scholars.
We also see that, in terms of state behaviour, personal and regional diplomacy play a signiﬁcant role. The conclusion appears to be that African IR is much more personalized, a lesson that may apply elsewhere. Given the USA’s foreign policy during the previous administration, many commentators speculated whether action was taken on the basis of the USA’s national interest, or whether the personal convictions of inﬂuential people within the administration outweighed such ‘traditional’ considerations.
Africa and International Relations in the 21st Century by Scarlett Cornelissen