Critical IRfocuses on challenging the existing standards in every aspect of life from aMarxist perspective. For example, the statement “home is where the heart is” or”democracy and capitalism are good”. It was basically an attack to the westernnarrative and to what it has imposed to the world. It raised questions on howthe white man killed the Indians, fathers were repressive challenging thepatriarchy, or how the founding fathers had slaves and believed in freedom.
Sothe purpose of Critical IR is to challenge these constructs by having a radicalform of change. So for critical theorists, all knowledge is critical. Thisincludes the sciences, the arts, etc. so whatever we take to be normal ispolitical order which is partly invisible to us because like fishes who can’tsee the water or walk against air we just go through it. And what happens is aprocess of reification, or forgetting the social constructs of reality whichmakes normality generate winner and losers.
So the likes of Stephen Gillwrote a lot about the politics of globalization. And he argues thatglobalization isn’t just about the loosening of the ties between states andpermeation of states and nonstate actors, but rather these are set of practicesthat are completely imbued with power. Andre Linklater on the other handfocuses on the question of harm or in what ways has our civilization enabled usto deal with harm in a better way. The international order comes with their ownperception of harm making some kinds of visible harm and others that areinvisible. Some are to be resolved while others are not.
Linklater has arguedthat, the war on terror has de-civilized whole categories of people. It openeda way of making harm against people who are not part of the problem likeattacking all people of Islam because the perpetrator is Islam. Thus making thehunters the harmers and not the harmed. Solutions cannot be found inrationality which is the part of the problem. The world needs to return toemotion or being able to feel. The world should chastise our reason throughself-reflection and in comparison with others. Through this we can build a suitable critique that isinterwoven with empirical knowledge and expertise.
In this way, IR can re-findits vocation in the bigger picture of things, which is to address the mainpolitical and moral problems or our era. If we understand as a set of puzzlesor as set of objects that have to be studied, then we are losing something. We’relosing the fact that IR has always been normative from the start. IR has been adiscipline that seeks to resolve political issues in the world. We should tryto train ourselves and be more self-reflexive and to harbour compassion inwhich we do not see so much in the international level