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Poststructuralism and International Relations: Bringing the Political Back In

Jenny Edkins
ISBN: 978-1-55587-845-0
1999/164 pages/LC: 99-21481
Critical Perspectives on World Politics
"Edkins’ presentation of the problem of the political is an important and challenging engagement with conventional International Relations."—Hakan Seckinelgin, Millennium

"A convincing refutation of the standard charge that poststructural arguments disable political engagement.... offers a remarkable lucid treatment of a series of complex theoretical issues.... Edkins offers an outstanding introduction to some of the central ideas of poststructuralism.”—Jutta Weldes,American Political Science Review

“This is a superbly clear account of a complex and important literature.”—Andrew Linklater


Offering a sophisticated introduction to the major post­structuralist thinkers, this book shows how Fou­cault, Derrida, Lacan, and Žižek expose the depoliticization found in conventional international relations theory.

Edkins argues that, contrary to the opinions of their detractors, the poststructuralists are concerned with the big questions of international politics: it is precisely their work that analyzes the political and explains the processes of depoliticization and technologization. Paying particular attention to notions of the subject and subjectivity in relation to the political, and to the relationship between ideology and social reality, Edkins explores, in short, why Fou­cault and others matter for international relations.


Jenny Edkins is lecturer in international politics at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.  She is coeditor of Sovereignty and Subjectivity


  • Politics, Subjectivity, and Depoliticization.
  • Decentering the Subject.
  • Foucault’s Docile Bodies.
  • Derrida and the Force of Law.
  • The Lacanian Subject.
  • Ideology and Reality in Žižek.
  • The Political and Repoliticization.