Skip to main content
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 31
  • Cited by
    This chapter has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Thomas, Scott M. 2018. A Trajectory Toward the Periphery: Francis of Assisi, Louis Massignon, Pope Francis, and Muslim–Christian Relations. The Review of Faith & International Affairs, Vol. 16, Issue. 1, p. 16.

    Tickner, J Ann and True, Jacqui 2018. A Century of International Relations Feminism: From World War I Women's Peace Pragmatism to the Women, Peace and Security Agenda. International Studies Quarterly,

    Managhan, Tina 2017. We all dreamed it: the politics of knowing and un-knowing the “war on terror”. Critical Studies on Terrorism, Vol. 10, Issue. 1, p. 22.

    Enloe, Cynthia Lacey, Anita and Gregory, Thomas 2016. Twenty-five years of Bananas, Beaches and Bases: A conversation with Cynthia Enloe. Journal of Sociology, Vol. 52, Issue. 3, p. 537.

    Geva, Dorit 2015. Dependency as a Keyword of the American Draft System and Persistence of Male-only Registration. Polity, Vol. 47, Issue. 2, p. 199.

    McLeod, Laura 2015. A Feminist Approach to Hybridity: Understanding Local and International Interactions in Producing Post-Conflict Gender Security. Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, Vol. 9, Issue. 1, p. 48.

    Berents, Helen 2015. Children, violence, and social exclusion: negotiation of everyday insecurity in a Colombianbarrio. Critical Studies on Security, Vol. 3, Issue. 1, p. 90.

    Bilgin, Pinar 2014. Critical investigationsinto the international. Third World Quarterly, Vol. 35, Issue. 6, p. 1098.

    Freedman, Jane 2014. Gendered Perspectives on Conflict and Violence: Part B. Vol. 18, Issue. , p. 125.

    Confortini, Catia C and Ruane, Abigail E 2014. Sara Ruddick’s Maternal Thinking as weaving epistemology for justpeace. Journal of International Political Theory, Vol. 10, Issue. 1, p. 70.

    Wight, Colin Hansen, Lene Dunne, Tim and Sylvester, Christine 2013. Experiencing the end and afterlives of International Relations/theory. European Journal of International Relations, Vol. 19, Issue. 3, p. 609.

    Kirby, Paul 2013. How is rape a weapon of war? Feminist International Relations, modes of critical explanation and the study of wartime sexual violence. European Journal of International Relations, Vol. 19, Issue. 4, p. 797.

    Burston, Jonathan 2012. The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies.

    Rowley, Christina and Weldes, Jutta 2012. The evolution of international security studies and the everyday: Suggestions from the Buffyverse. Security Dialogue, Vol. 43, Issue. 6, p. 513.

    Coleman, Lara Montesinos and Bassi, Serena A. 2011. Deconstructing Militant Manhood. International Feminist Journal of Politics, Vol. 13, Issue. 2, p. 204.

    von der Lippe, Berit and Väyrynen, Tarja 2011. Co-opting feminist voices for the war on terror: Laura Bush meets Nordic feminism. European Journal of Women's Studies, Vol. 18, Issue. 1, p. 19.

    Bilgin, Pinar 2010. The ‘Western-Centrism’ of Security Studies: ‘Blind Spot’ or Constitutive Practice?. Security Dialogue, Vol. 41, Issue. 6, p. 615.

    Stuvøy, Kirsti 2010. Human Security Research Practices: Conceptualizing Security for Women’s Crisis Centres in Russia. Security Dialogue, Vol. 41, Issue. 3, p. 279.

    Gammon, Earl 2010. Oedipal authority and capitalist sovereignty: a Deleuzoguattarian reading of IR theory. Journal of International Relations and Development, Vol. 13, Issue. 4, p. 354.

    Shepherd, Laura J. McCarthy, Greg Bacchi, Carol Caulfield, Tanya Rowley, Christina and Short, Nicola 2010. book reviews. International Feminist Journal of Politics, Vol. 12, Issue. 1, p. 117.

  • Print publication year: 1996
  • Online publication date: March 2010

8 - Margins, silences and bottom rungs: how to overcome the underestimation of power in the study of international relations


When I think about what it is that seems so unrealistic (yes, that loaded term) in most formal analyses of international politics, what strikes me is how far their authors are willing to go in underestimating the amounts and varieties of power it takes to form and sustain any given set of relationships between states. This conclusion, of course, rings oddly. So many analysts, after all, profess to be interested chiefly in power – who has it, how they got it, what they try to do with it. Their profession notwithstanding, I believe that by concentrating so single-mindedly on what is referred to euphemistically as the ‘centre’, scores of analysts have produced a naive portrait of how international politics really (there's that tricky concept again) work.

No individual or social group finds themselves on the ‘margins’ of any web of relationships – a football league, an industry, an empire, a military alliance, a state – without some other individual or group having accumulated enough power to create the ‘centre’ somewhere else. Beyond its creation, too, there is the yearly and daily business of maintaining the margin where it currently is and the centre where it now is. It is harder for those at the alleged centre to hear the hopes, fears and explanations of those on the margins, not because of physical distance – the margin may be two blocks from the White House, four stops on the Paris metro from the Quai d'Orsay – but because it takes resources and access to be ‘heard’ when and where it matters.

Recommend this book

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this book to your organisation's collection.

International Theory
  • Online ISBN: 9780511660054
  • Book DOI:
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to *