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Thinking the present

This book offers the first authoritative guide to assumptions about time in theories of contemporary world politics. It demonstrates how predominant theories of the international or global ‘present’ are affected by temporal assumptions, grounded in western political thought, which fundamentally shape what we can and cannot know about world politics today. In so doing, the book puts into question the ways in which social scientists and normative theorists diagnose ‘our’ post-Cold War times. The first part of the book traces the philosophical roots of assumptions about time in contemporary political and international theory. The second part examines contemporary theories of world politics, including liberal and realist International Relations theories and the work of Habermas, Hardt and Negri, Virilio and Agamben. In each case, it is argued, assumptions about political time ensure the identification of the particular temporality of western experience with the political temporality of the world as such and put the theorist in the unsustainable position of holding the key to the direction of world history. In the final chapter, the book draws on postcolonial and feminist thinking, and the philosophical accounts of political time in the work of Derrida and Deleuze, to develop a new ‘untimely’ way of thinking about time in world politics.

Abstract only
Kimberly Hutchings

the previous chapter, in particular the theories of Kant, Hegel and Marx. These issues concern both the question of how one is to account for world political change and how one is to judge (analytically and normatively) its meaning. It is clear that there are significant differences from the philosophy of history, in the ways in which the alternative understandings of political temporality of Arendt, Benjamin, Derrida and Deleuze set up the possibilities for thinking the present of world politics. Nevertheless, it will also be argued that in certain respects the

in Time and world politics
Kimberly Hutchings

Machiavellian temporalisation of politics, and the possibilities it yields for understanding and judging political life. I then move on to draw a contrast between Bacon’s ‘The Masculine Birth of Time’ and Newton’s Unitarian chronology of world history. Both of these accounts remove political temporality from the cyclical rhythms of Machiavelli but in very different ways. Bacon sees science as the key to a new time of unfettered progress, in which the chronos of nature is trumped by the kairos of human invention. In contrast, Newton’s science is put to use in order to

in Time and world politics
Kimberly Hutchings

3200TimeandWorldPolitics.qxd:2935 The Biopolitics 18/7/08 07:57 Page 154 7 Thinking the present Introduction H E previous three chapters have explored different approaches to thinking the ‘present’ of world politics. In every case, the diagnoses of, and prescriptions for, the current ‘times’ of world politics depended on assumptions about world-political temporality in which different conceptions of chronos and kairos, and the relation between them, were embedded. All of the theories of contemporary world politics with which we have been concerned developed

in Time and world politics
Kimberly Hutchings

find theorists divided along familiar lines of opposition, both in terms of alternative ways of conceptualising the overall temporal trajectory of world politics and in terms of diagnosis and prescription. Nevertheless, there have been some attempts to put the model of science underpinning such work into question and thereby open up questions about whether we might think world political temporality differently. In the final section of the chapter, we will examine attempts to disrupt the temporal assumptions embedded in standard International Relations methodologies

in Time and world politics
Abstract only
Kimberly Hutchings

3200TimeandWorldPolitics.qxd:2935 The Biopolitics 18/7/08 07:57 Page 106 5 Time for democracy Introduction N the previous chapter I argued that ‘scientific’ attempts to diagnose the post1989 times of world politics, in spite of their explicit rejection of historicism, nevertheless depended on kairotic meta-narratives of political temporality. The familiar ghost of philosophical history, in which the scholar’s task is both to identify the ‘real’ mechanisms underlying historical development and to intervene, or enable intervention, positively in relation to

in Time and world politics
Kimberly Hutchings

revival of progressive understandings of political temporality was particularly obvious. Since the mid1990s these have been increasingly countered not only by realist repetitive or ‘tragic’ understandings of political time, but also by readings of the present in terms of decline and apocalypse. These narratives (considered in Chapter 6 below) link contemporary US foreign policy to broader trends within world politics driven by market capitalism and technology. Here themes of repressive global governmentality, neo-liberalism, the totalisation and dehumanisation of war

in Time and world politics
Open Access (free)
An epilogue
Saurabh Dube

came to the fore. 5 Thus, one form of counter-colonial sensibility, appealing to bourgeois nationalists, was replaced by a modernist anti-imperial imaginary which would soon draw on the energies of the subcontinental popular, announcing shifts that were aesthetic and political, temporal and spatial. Second, rather more than the ready influence of the

in Subjects of modernity
Alice Marples

geographical, political, temporal and confessional boundaries. Notes 1 BL, Sloane MS 4036, Arthur Rawdon to Hans Sloane, Moira, 10 May 1688, fo. 35. 2 Ibid. , Rawdon to Sloane, Moira, 24 June 1691, fo. 105. 3 Ibid. , Victor Ferguson to Sloane, Belfast, 14 July 1691, fo. 106. 4 Anne Goldgar, Impolite Learning: Conduct and Community in the Republic of Letters, 1680–1750 (New Haven, CT, 1995

in Early Modern Ireland and the world of medicine
Ice cores and the temporalization of Earth system science
Erik Isberg

climatic shifts, as Alessandro Antonello and Mark Carey have shown, is common in ice core futurities, and tends to obscure the role of politics and societal organization while giving primacy to climate as an exterior force. But the article also highlights the increasingly complicated epistemologies and temporalities of ice core research at the time. By connecting ice cores to human pasts – the Greenland settlement – and human futures – climate modelling – Dansgaard and his co-writers were simultaneously expanding the political, temporal, and epistemological boundaries

in Ice humanities