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Carr’s Lessons for Post-colonial IR

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E. H. Carr: Imperialism, War and Lessons for Post-Colonial IR

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Abstract

This chapter aims to show that Carr’s work opens avenues for engagement between classical realism and post-colonialism across two debates relevant to post-colonial IR scholars today: first, on human rights; second on the liberal international order. With regard to the former, the chapter draws on Carr to argue that the post-colonial critique of racial injustice in the context of human rights ought to be embedded in a critique of the neo-liberal historiography of human rights. With regard to the latter, Carr’s analysis, firstly, highlights, contrary to prevalent belief among post-colonial scholars, that neither the feeling of alienation nor its association with racial and gendered violence is particular to the West. Secondly, it sheds a new light on the post-colonial critique of neo-liberalism and neo-realism. Overall, a Carrian engagement with the debate on human rights and the liberal international order presents an important lesson for post-colonial IR today: that all theories and concepts in IR are susceptible to be weaponised and used towards ends contrary to what they originally promised. Carr’s lesson here applies to the various concepts that post-colonial scholars critiqued—such as human rights, development, and security—but also goes beyond this critique to highlight that post-colonial IR scholarship, its concepts, and narratives, are not immune to Carr’s critique.

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Correspondence to Haro L Karkour .

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Karkour, H.L. (2022). Carr’s Lessons for Post-colonial IR. In: E. H. Carr: Imperialism, War and Lessons for Post-Colonial IR. Palgrave Studies in International Relations. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-99360-3_6

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