Interrogating International Relations by Jayashree Vivekanandan
India's Strategic Practice and the Return of History (War and International Politics in South Asia)

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Synopsis

The book interrogates the disciplinary biases and firewalls that inform mainstream international relations today, and problematises the several tropes that have come to typify the strategic histories of post-colonial societies such as India. Questioning a range of long-held cultural representations on India, the book challenges such portrayals and underscores the centrality of context and contingency in any cultural explanation of state behaviour. It argues for a historico-cultural understanding of power and critiques IR’s tendency to usher in a selective ‘return of history’.

Taking two contrasting case studies from medieval Indian history, the book assesses the success and failure of the grand strategy pursued by the Mughal empire under Akbar. The study emphasises his grand strategy of accommodation, defined by the interplay of critical variables such as distance and the vast military labour market. The book also looks at his conscious attempt to indigenise power by projecting himself as the personification of the ideal Hindu king. This case study helps to contextualise the many critical transitions that occurred in international relations: from medieval empires to the modern state system, and from an indigenised, experiential understanding of power to its absolute, abstract manifestations in the colonial state.

 

About Jayashree Vivekanandan

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Published March 12, 2012 by Routledge India. 267 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, War. Non-fiction

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Given the enormity of distance between the Mughal centre of power – despite attempts by Mughals to move imperial capitals from Agra to Delhi in the north of India to Aurangabad in the south – and the Deccan states, socialization could not become a viable strategy.

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