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Imperial Encounters

The Politics of Representation in North-South Relations

1996
Author:

Roxanne Lynn Doty

Imperial Encounters

Offers a fresh perspective on power relationships in global politics.

“Developed/underdeveloped,” “first world/third world,” “modern/traditional”-although there is nothing inevitable, natural, or arguably even useful about such divisions, they are widely accepted as legitimate ways to categorize regions and peoples of the world. In Imperial Encounters, Roxanne Lynn Doty looks at the way these kinds of labels influence North-South relations, reflecting a history of colonialism and shaping the way national identity is constructed today.

“An outstanding interpretive contribution to the history of foreign policy and colonial discourse, representations and meanings of international relations.” Francis A. Beer, University of Colorado

“Developed/underdeveloped,” “first world/third world,” “modern/traditional”-although there is nothing inevitable, natural, or arguably even useful about such divisions, they are widely accepted as legitimate ways to categorize regions and peoples of the world. In Imperial Encounters, Roxanne Lynn Doty looks at the way these kinds of labels influence North-South relations, reflecting a history of colonialism and shaping the way national identity is constructed today.

Employing a critical, poststructuralist perspective, Doty examines two “imperial encounters” over time: between the United States and the Philippines and between Great Britain and Kenya. The history of these two relationships demonstrates that not only is the more powerful member allowed to construct “reality,” but this construction of reality bears an important relationship to actual practice. Doty is particularly interested in the way in which the South has been represented by policymakers, scholars, and journalists, and how these representations have influenced specific encounters. Doty also uses the insights of Edward Said to argue that the power dynamic that allows the North to define the global identity of nations in the South ultimately tells us more about northern powers than about their southern neighbors.

Doty then considers the persistence of representational practices, particularly with regard to Northern views of human rights in the South and contemporary social science discourses on North-South relations. She ends with the argument that the discipline of international relations needs to be reformed by broadening the repertoire of theoretical and analytical tools available to scholars studying global politics. Important and timely, Imperial Encounters brings a fresh perspective to the debate over the past-and the future-of global politics.


Imperial Encounters

Roxane Lynn Doty is assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Arizona State University.

Imperial Encounters

“An outstanding interpretive contribution to the history of foreign policy and colonial discourse, representations and meanings of international relations.” Francis A. Beer, University of Colorado

“Imperial Encounters is an important and in some ways pathbreaking study of the international political economy. Significant for all students of international political economy.” American Political Science Review