The Silence of non-Western International Relations Theory as a Camouflage Strategy: The Trauma of Qing China and the Late Ottoman Empire

Demirer H. A.

All Azimuth, vol.10, no.1, pp.99-118, 2021 (Scopus) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 10 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.20991/allazimuth.663742
  • Journal Name: All Azimuth
  • Journal Indexes: Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.99-118
  • Keywords: late Ottoman Empire, mimicking as a response to trauma, Non-western IR theory, Qing China, standard of civilization
  • Istanbul Gelisim University Affiliated: Yes


© 2021. All Rights Reserved.My main argument in this article is that there have been at least three important barriers to the development of non-Western international relations theory (NWIRT): intellectual barriers (traumatizing effects of the imposition of the “standard of civilization”); ideational barriers (dominance of Western concepts and contexts); and scientific barriers (imposition of the standard of science). I argue that the silence of NWIRT is substantially a side effect of the strategy of mimicking the West, which was developed as an intellectual defense mechanism or as a camouflage strategy for the (re)establishment and the survival of non-Western states after their traumatic encounter with the Western states. Therefore, the surfacing of NWIRT discussions in the last decades can be attributed primarily to the maturation of an internal condition that is the revival of self-confidence in the residuals of former empires due to their regaining of rising power status and, thus, can be seen as a new phase of the ‘revolt against the West.’ On the other hand, I argue that the rise of NWIRT discussions are also related to the ripening of an external condition: some European schools of IR have been attempting to intellectually balance against the hegemony of American mainstream IRT, therefore, publication of edited books and special issues on NWIRT can also be read as searching for intellectual alliance with NWIRT.