Peripheral possibilities: revealing originality and encouraging dialogue through a reconsideration of ‘marginal’ IR scholarship

  • Helen Louise Turton
  • Lucas G Freire
Original Article


This article presents a framework for revealing the original contributions of certain forms of ‘peripheral’ IR scholarship and for encouraging dialogue between ‘core’ and ‘peripheral’ scholars. Often, peripheral research is dismissed by the core for being, presumably, a ‘mere copy’ of ‘core scholarship’. Our framework, however, provides a means of re-evaluating peripheral scholarship that, at first, may seem ‘similar’, in order to reveal the differences and, at times, even resistant scholarly moves. We apply three abstract propositions (hybridity, mimicry and the denationalisation of ideas) that help spell out the original character of these ‘similar yet different’ peripheral contributions. What results is an affirmation of the potential for novelty on the periphery of IR, a perception that, firstly, restores agency to marginalised subjects; secondly, it highlights the relevance of their contribution to the discipline; and thirdly, it encourages dialogue with the core. The article examines how the framework presented here can operate as a series of possibilities to be adopted by peripheral scholars in order to generate dialogue and intellectual exchanges with the core, with the hope that such exchanges may begin to alter the present asymmetrical power relations.


core dialogue hegemony hybridity mimicry periphery 



We would like to thank Iver Neumann, Kimberly Hutchings, Colin Wight, Felix Grenier and Philippe Beaulieu-Brossard for their helpful and constructive comments on earlier drafts of this article. We would also like to thank the anonymous reviewers and editors for their equally valuable suggestions and support during the process.


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helen Louise Turton
    • 1
  • Lucas G Freire
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Politics, Elmfield, Northumberland Road, University of SheffieldSheffieldUK
  2. 2.Department of Politics, University of ExeterExeterUK

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