Denying the International

Benjamin Herborth*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)
    14 Downloads (Pure)


    Where there have been many, there must be one. In the beginning and in the end, for the mess in-between can only be a transitory state. Or so Hans Blumenberg characterizes the fundamental presupposition of Western metaphysics. Very much in line with this logic, International Relations has invested a great deal of conceptual energy in unthinking and undoing the international as a constituent concept. This article critically engages with the temptation to purge the international from the discipline, and, more importantly, from political practice. There is a rich and powerful history of passing off the international as a thing. The reified international achieves a coherent organization of space by sacrificing time, and thus history and politics. Against this background, I unpack the metaphysics of order implicit in both uses and rejections of the international and propose a reflexive use of the international which serves as a constant, nagging reminder of a complex politics of difference.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)783-795
    Number of pages13
    JournalCambridge Review of International Affairs
    Issue number6
    Early online date9-Jun-2021
    Publication statusPublished - 2022

    Cite this