Combating Euro-Centrism in Diplomatic Studies

In: The Hague Journal of Diplomacy
Iver B. Neumann Norwegian Social Research (NOVA) 0170 Oslo Norway Norwegian Museum of Cultural History, Oslo University 0287 Oslo Norway

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In a rapidly globalising world, Euro-centrism — namely, the notion that the West deserves to occupy the centre stage of past and present world history — is unwarranted. It is both politically unjust and scientifically unsatisfactory, since it means that knowledge production proceeds according to habit rather than to need. The problem is not first and foremost an individual predicament. Most scholars of diplomacy study the state of which they are a national. This may be an inevitable division of labour. While individual scholars have an obligation to think about how different languages, different categorisation systems and different problems mean that a Euro-centric approach will only take us so far in understanding diplomacy as a global social form, this epistemological problem is located primarily on the level of diplomatic studies as such. The other contributors to this special issue propel our sub-field to a more multi-centric and scientifically higher level.

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