The apparent transition underway from a trans-Atlantic, liberal world order to one of multiple, overlapping orders has caused much policy, scholarly, and public anxiety. In tandem with this structural development, in the field of international relations (IR), heated contests are underway between alternative visions of how to read this transformation. In this introduction to the special forum, we outline an approach for grappling with these dynamics. Our overarching question is: How to make sense of emergent regional imaginaries, the ways that they interlock, and the implications for IR theory and practice? To begin answering, we first challenge the increasingly widespread view that the return of great power politics—or what we call the “great game” vision of multipolarity—is the only or best register with which to read emerging patterns. Instead, we propose the idea of “interlocking regional worlds,” a notion inspired by “Afro-Eur-Asia” as a site that evokes multiple meanings. A historically sensitive and sociologically nuanced analytical modality, we argue for theory as “itinerant translation” across regional worlds. This relational framework, we contend, can help to better understand and explain, observe and encounter one another, the problems that collectively embroil us, and the transformative processes to which we are bearing witness. The exercises in itinerant translation across the interlocking regional worlds of Afro-Eur-Asia on offer in this special forum likewise reveal the globe as a pluriversal space where multiple realities can and do coexist (and always have).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Political Science and International Relations
- Sociology and Political Science