Mapping International Chaos


Mapping is inherently a subjective and exclusionary practice as the
cartographer decides which elements of the world are included and which can safely be ignored. Similarly, when an international relations theorist describes a new theory it is necessary to define the elements which are essential to understanding the complexities of an international political system, explain why other elements have been excluded and justify why those decisions were made. The subjective nature of theorizing international affairs and the necessary exclusionary practices in which the theorist engages mean that the arguments supporting a new theory of international relations must be rather stronger than the arguments behind the scribbled directions one might offer a friend. This article explains why existing realist and liberal “maps” of the international system are insufficient to describe the system’s complexities and offers guidelines and a basic structure for mapping an alternative chaotic theory of international politics.

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