Postcolonial IR challenges the eurocentrism of IR—particularly its parochial assumption that Western Enlightenment thinking is superior, progressive and universally applicable. Postcolonialists argue that this is enabled through constructing the Other as irrational and backwards.

Postcolonial IR attempts to expose such parochial assumptions of IR; for example, in the construction of white versus coloured peoples. An example is the IR story of a white men's burden to educate and liberate coloured men and women, to protect coloured women from coloured men. Often this is linked to other postpositivist theories, for example, through Postcolonial feminism, which analyze issues in IR through the lenses of both gender and culture.

Examples of the parochialistic nature of IR include geographical parochialism and cultural chauvinism. For the former, the construction of the Cold War era as a time of peace ignores the reality that major conflicts continued in the developing world. Furthermore, the oft-cited history of IR is constructed in western terms; and IR has been used to justify everything from imperialism to a playground for skirmishes between the two Cold War superpowers. For the latter, the West (through IGOs such as the IMF's quick rush to "save" Asia in the aftermath of the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997–8 could be seen as both a white men's burden to save Asia or to reformulate Asian capitalism in a Western image.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Critical international relations theory".




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