Thinking the International/Global in the 21st century: tools, concepts, theorists, events and actors

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Grupo de Estudios de Relaciones Internacionales (International Relations Studies Group)
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In March 2005 we published the first issue of our journal titled "New theoretical tendencies, new political phenomena". In this issue Francisco Javier Peñas asked: is IR theory possible? Peñas analysed the difficulties we come across when theorizing, the need for theory and the most relevant theoretical tendencies of the moment. He argued that our possibilities for generating knowledge are always connected to questions regarding what and how we come to know the world. The ways in which we respond to these two questions are fundamental in defining the type of theory we do. In response to these questions, Peñas came to the humble conclusion that "the most sensible and productive thing to do is pirate knowledge from diverse areas, read and re-read the world with the modest pretension of saying something minimally enlightening, without implying that one should not defend positions that, despite being subject to potential disillusionment and setbacks, are consider ethically defendable". (pp. 26-27)

Only eight years have passed since the publication of this first issue. However, both the study of international politics and the political conditions have changed. In IR new theoretical tendencies have appeared and consolidated themselves in the spaces created by earlier critical theories. New lines of investigation such as Critical Realism, International Political Sociology and Critical Security Studies offer new possibilities. Other disciplines increasingly enter IR's terrain challenging and enriching it. Possibly some of the greatest contributions to the study of IR are to be found in other disciplines such as Sociology, Political Philosophy, Anthropology, History or Postcolonial Studies. In addition to these theoretical developments, over the last 8 years, the global financial crisis has altered political conditions and has highlighted the numerous difficulties that political action currently faces. In geopolitical terms we have seen the sustained influence of non-State actors and the appearance of China as a global power.

Against this landscape of theoretical innovation and historical change we feel the need to update the contents of Peñas' article. For this reason we propose the question: What do we need to say something minimally enlightening about International Politics today? And, additionally: What type of theory can we do? We know that it is necessary to go beyond the theoretical heritage of the IR discipline in search of solutions. Our project, via the Relaciones Internacionales journal and the International Relations Study Group (GERI) at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid has never stopped asking these questions. However, we have waited until now, the year 2013, to ask explicitly for contributions that share our desire to rethink the International/Global. Contributions that respond to the following questions: What tools do we have to do theory? Which concepts allow us to describe current political conditions? Which theorists offer interesting perspectives? Which events have marked our reality?

Articles must be submitted by the 20th of May 2013. Before submitting an article, we ask authors to send a brief proposal of content to be screened by the editorial committee.

Final articles must be submitted to the journal's website (, having firstly registered as an author.

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