Gavagai? The International Politics of Translation

Benjamin Herborth*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

    33 Downloads (Pure)


    This chapter unpacks the politics of translation in four steps. In a first step, it reviews how translation is made unproblematic in contexts as diverse as the literature on international norms, actor-network theory, and in a generalised attitude toward social research commonly dubbed ‘positivism’. Second, it turns to W. V. O. Quine’s influential take on the indeterminacy of translation to highlight how it effectively disrupts routinised attempts to render translation unproblematic. A third step discusses these attempts in the broader horizon of a quest for certainty, a longing for knowledge to stand on a firm ground, which contrasts sharply with the reflexive interplay of social relations of translation. In a concluding step, the chapter discusses the politics of both translation and untranslatability in terms of its inextricably international dimension.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Politics of Translation in International Relations
    EditorsZeynep Gulsah Capan, Filipe dos Reis, Maj Grasten
    Place of PublicationCham
    PublisherPalgrave MacMillan
    Number of pages19
    ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-56886-3
    ISBN (Print)978-3-030-56885-6
    Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Publication series

    NamePalgrave Studies in International Relations
    PublisherPalgrave Macmillan UK

    Cite this