American University
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Robust Relationality: Lessons from the Ontology of Complete Interconnectedness for the Field of International Relations

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posted on 2023-09-07, 05:05 authored by Tamara Ann Trownsell

Rather than taking the generally assumed parameters and tenets of the field of International Relations and of knowledge production for granted, this dissertation examines these assumptions in light of a contrasting mirror to gauge the likelihood of being able to generate knowledge that can respond to the concerns of this field, diminish the likelihood of war, and augment the chances for peace. The final conclusion is that the methodological approaches currently engaged within this field will not be able to respond in any significant way to the field's goals due to the `eternally' privileged thrust toward imbalance afforded through the separation-based ontological lens generally shared and employed to constitute the time-spacescape of Western-style academia. I show this through an elaborate contrast between the fruits afforded through the ontology of separation against those generated through an ontology of complete interconnectedness. For this contrast I draw on certain key principles of Andean philosophy as one particular collective manifestation of the lens of complete interconnectedness. For these principles to serve as an appropriate contrast, however, their common (re-)interpretations as found within both chronicles of the conquest and contemporary anthropological works must be thoroughly re-expanded through a lens of complete interconnectedness due to the reductionist effects of the lens of separation that was employed to document them. Once we get a glimpse of the more robust picture generated through this lens and its implications, we are then able to discern how even the relational methodological approaches applied within the field of IR and in academia more broadly still adhere to certain separation-based parameters that preclude them from accessing, and therefore being able to use, the full implications of robust monism, which include being able to ontologically privilege balance as well as explaining how we are compelled to fall into the vicious cycles of epistemic violence, of resorting to a teleological framework for engaging reality, and expressing ourselves in terms of domination and submission.





Degree awarded: Ph.D. School of International Service. American University


Degree grantor

American University. School of International Service

Degree level

  • Doctoral

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