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  • Author: Dawisson Belém Lopes, Guilherme Casarões
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Contexto Internacional
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro
  • Abstract: This article makes the case for viewing international organisations (IOs) as global polyarchies. Our argument is twofold: on a theoretical level, IOs often meet the criterion of philosophical coherence, as they are based on rules of membership and decision-making that are compatible with those found in democratic institutions. On a practical level, we believe the concerns of IOs about pluralism, inclusiveness and efficacy go far beyond rhetoric, and may decisively influence their activities as well as their outcomes. To this end, the first section explores Robert Dahl’s concept of polyarchy and applies this to global institutions. In the subsequent sections, we advance our empirical argument with the UN as a case study. We reach three main conclusions. The first is that, at the bureaucratic level, the UN Secretariat performs some typically democratic functions, such as multilateral representation and the constitution of international regimes, which turns it into an important channel for feasible democracy in international politics. Second, at the multilateral level, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) represents a specific kind of representative polyarchy by allowing the greatest possible number of countries to have an equal say in global affairs. And third, it also serves as a gateway for multilevelled international representation by including a diversity of non-state actors in what has been called the ‘Third United Nations.’
  • Topic: Globalization, International Organization, United Nations, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Yi Shin Tang, Bruno Youssef Yunen Alves de Lima
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Contexto Internacional
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro
  • Abstract: The international trade system has been facing a relative decrease in the relevance of tariffs in favour of non-tariff, regulatory requirements (technical, sanitary and phytosanitary standards). The proliferation of these measures, which essentially consist of rules on product labelling and on production processes and methods, may be explained by the growing influence of private agents, such as corporations and business associations. Although these players are willing to develop and enforce a competing regulatory framework such as this on a broader range of topics, this may also generate more fragmented trade rules at both geographic and substantive levels, thus leading to a significant resistance among governments to integrate private standards into the multilateral trade system. Therefore, a mounting debate emerges on the ways in which private standards have been stonewalled in the current negotiation processes of the World Trade Organization (WTO). By relying on Kingdon’s Multiple Streams Framework (MSF), we address this question with a particular focus on the current efforts and struggles within the WTO to incorporate private regulations into the international trade agenda.
  • Topic: Globalization, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, World Trade Organization, Free Trade
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Victor Carneiro Corrêa Vieira
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Contexto Internacional
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro
  • Abstract: In 1946, Mao Zedong began to elaborate his theory of the Third World from the perception that there would be an ‘intermediate zone’ of countries between the two superpowers. From there, he concluded that Africa, Latin America, and Asia, except for Japan, would compose the revolutionary forces capable of defeating imperialism, colonialism, and hegemonism. The start of international aid from the People’s Republic of China to developing countries dates back to the period immediately after the Bandung Conference of 1955, extending to the present. Through a bibliographical and documentary analysis, the article starts with the following research question: What role did domestic and international factors play in China’s foreign aid drivers over the years? To answer the question, the evolution of Chinese international assistance was studied from Mao to the Belt and Road Initiative, which is the complete expression of the country’s ‘quaternity’ model of co-operation, combining aid, trade, investment, and technical assistance.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Trade and Finance, International Affairs, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Ramon Blanco, Ana Carolina Teixeira Delgado
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Contexto Internacional
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro
  • Abstract: This article examines a key element of the power relations underpinning international politics, namely coloniality. It delineates the coloniality of international politics, and elucidates the fundamental aspects of its operationalisation on the one hand, and its crystallisation into international politics on the other. The article is structured into three sections. First, it explores the meaning of coloniality, and outlines its fundamental characteristics. Next, it delineates a crucial operative element of coloniality, the idea of race, and the double movement through which coloniality is rendered operational – the colonisation of time and space. Finally, the article analyses two structuring problematisations that were fundamental to the crystallisation of coloniality in international politics – the work of Francisco de Vitoria, and the Valladolid Debate. It argues that the way in which these problematisations framed the relationship between the European Self and the ultimate Other of Western modernity – the indigenous peoples in the Americas – crystallised the pervasive role of coloniality in international politics.
  • Topic: Post Colonialism, Race, International Affairs, Colonialism, Indigenous
  • Political Geography: Europe, Latin America, Global Focus
  • Author: Maja Zehfuss, Antonio Y. Vázquez-Arroyo, Dan Bulley, Bal Sokhi-Bulley
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Contexto Internacional
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro
  • Abstract: Jacques Derrida delivered the basis of The Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning, & the New International as a plenary address at the conference ‘Whither Marxism?’ hosted by the University of California, Riverside, in 1993. The longer book version was published in French the same year and appeared in English and Portuguese the following year. In the decade after the publication of Specters, Derrida’s analyses provoked a large critical literature and invited both consternation and celebration by figures such as Antonio Negri, Wendy Brown and Frederic Jameson. This forum seeks to stimulate new reflections on Derrida, deconstruction and Specters of Marx by considering how the futures past announced by the book have fared after an eventful quarter century. Maja Zehfuss, Antonio Vázquez-Arroyo and Dan Bulley and Bal Sokhi-Bulley offer sharp, occasionally exasperated, meditations on the political import of deconstruction and the limits of Derrida’s diagnoses in Specters of Marx but also identify possible paths forward for a global politics taking inspiration in Derrida’s work of the 1990s.
  • Topic: Post Colonialism, Political Theory, Philosophy, Decolonization, Deconstruction
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Natália Maria Félix de Souza
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Contexto Internacional
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro
  • Abstract: The publication of the last of three parts of Contexto Internacional’s special issue ‘Gender in the Global South’ is the opportunity to both celebrate and lament the accomplishments of feminist scholarship in the so-called global South. Reflecting from the Brazilian experience and scenario, it is remarkable how much the women, gender and sexuality agenda has grown in the field of international relations: from a marginal perspective at the turn of the century (Nogueira and Messari 2005), it has now become a major locus of resistance and contestation, which can be attested to by looking at the power plays at the Brazilian international relations association’s annual meetings, the multiplication of feminist collectives inside public and private universities, not to mention the growing number of gender-sensitive research articles published by the main national journals – including this triple special issue. From where I look, there is no doubt that feminism has come to shake the conventions of the area and produce a much more plural and interesting picture of international relations – one which encompasses more voices, stories, subjectivities and narratives. From this standpoint, there is much to celebrate and hope for.
  • Topic: International Relations, Gender Issues, Socialism/Marxism, Realism, International Relations Theory, Feminism, Liberalism
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Global Focus
  • Author: Awino Okech, Dinah Musindarwezo
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Contexto Internacional
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro
  • Abstract: This article reflects on transnational feminist organising by drawing on the experiences of the African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET) during the consultations leading up to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. First, we re-examine some of the debates that have shaped the field of women’s rights, feminist activism and gender justice in Africa, and the enduring legacies of these discourses for policy advocacy. Second, we analyse the politics of movement-building and the influence of development funding, and how they shape policy discourses and praxis in respect of women’s rights and gender justice. Third, we problematise the nature of transnational feminist solidarity. Finally, drawing on scholarship about transnational feminist praxis as well as activism, we distil some lessons for feminist policy advocacy across geo-political divides.
  • Topic: Globalization, International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation, Political Theory, Women, Sustainable Development Goals, International Relations Theory, Alliance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Global Focus
  • Author: Andréa Gill, Thula Pires
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Contexto Internacional
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro
  • Abstract: This article proposes a re-reading of the problem of gender, or as it has been put, more often than not, ‘the woman problem,’ that resists the reproduction of modern/colonial systems of governance and their political norms, standards, ideals and pacts. In turn, it seeks to open pathways to dialogue with, rather than import, conceptions of gender that respond to the terms through which modern/colonial societies have been forged on the continent of Abya Yala, drawing inspiration from decolonial and diasporic perspectives. To this end, the article maps some of the available channels of the gender debate in what has come to be known as the global South from an array of perspectives that highlight the ways in which the relations between categories of oppression and privilege (such as race, class, sexuality and gender) are reflected and positioned so as to grapple with the coloniality of knowledge, power and being. More specifically, it focuses on three ways of dealing with power dynamics in the context of Abya Yala that have influenced how we conceive and respond to questions of gender. Its primary objective is to investigate the politico-epistemic conditions that structure gender thinking in binary and intersectional ways, and, in turn, open space for imbricated approaches forged from within (post-)colonial histories that do not take as their starting point the importation of theoretical references from places otherwise situated within a global political economy of knowledge/power/being. More than a critique of theoretical standpoints from the global North, in and of themselves, which regardless were not thought to respond to our realities, here we analyse the terms through which gender and feminisms have been put up for debate. Without effectively decentring the Eurocentred references that preoccupy gender thinking in our respective disputes, we risk continued distraction from what is at stake when gender is put on the table: the (im)possibilities of living one’s full humanity on one’s own terms.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Political Theory, Diaspora, Women, International Relations Theory
  • Political Geography: Europe, Latin America, Global Focus
  • Author: Enara Echart Muñoz, Maria del Carmen Villarreal
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Contexto Internacional
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro
  • Abstract: Since Cynthia Enloe asked, ‘Where are the women?’ in 1989, studies about the place of women in International Relations have increased. However, most of the analyses since then have focused on the participation of women in international organisations, events and institutional spaces, making invisible other practices and places occupied by black or indigenous women from the South. This article aims to highlight the role of women at the international level, analysing their performance in disputes over the meanings of development in Latin America and the Caribbean, based on struggles against extractivism. In addition to denouncing the impacts of this development model, these struggles seek to construct alternatives that, although they could be essentially local, have been multiplied and articulated throughout the Latin American and the Caribbean territory, as part of a broader resistance to the dominant extractivism in the region. These struggles will be mapped using a database of 259 conflicts around mining activities, developed by the Research Group on International Relations and Global South (GRISUL).
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Race, Natural Resources, Women, Global South, Indigenous
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Caribbean, Global Focus
  • Author: Thais de Bakker Castro
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Contexto Internacional
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro
  • Abstract: Leticia Sabsay is a prominent Argentinian academic, based at the London School of Economics, whose work has been exploring pressing issues and questions: how gender and sexuality relate to ideas of freedom, how to define human subjectivity, how to politically resist, among others. In Sabsay’s writing, ideas of gender and sexuality cannot be dissociated from our broader political formations and complex processes of becoming subjects in neoliberalism. And our aspirations to evoke political shifts and improvements cannot be separated from a notion of the human as a being with permeable borders, invariably interconnected to others and to a conjunction of experiences – as opposed to the liberal notion of autonomous individuality. I believe she joins theorists like Judith Butler in an attempt to resituate the ontological grounds of our notion of the individual and of our political formations, and she is thus an important reference for feminist and queer efforts to make sense of liberal cooptation, on the one hand, and conservative backlash, on the other. The following is an interview conducted in November of 2018, at the LSE, in which I asked her about her references, her more recent body of work, and her conceptualizations of current tendencies in politics. The interview was lightly edited for clarity.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Women, Freedom of Expression, Feminism
  • Political Geography: Global Focus