India and the Quest for World Order


Wed, 03/12/2014 -
15:30 to 17:00
The Committee Room, Wolfson College


Thorsten Wojczewski, Doctoral Student and Research Fellow, German Institute of Global and Area Studies and Visiting Fellow, Contemporary South Asian Studies Programme

Against the backdrop of a growing awareness for “global power shifts” and their impact on the contemporary world order in the prevalent International Relations discourse, this paper re-conceptualizes the phenomenon that is subsumed under the label of “global power shifts” through the lenses of poststructuralist discourse theory and postcolonialism as a shift of representational power that challenges ‘Western’ hegemony in the political and academic domain. “Global power shifts” fuel the hegemonic struggle for the fixation of meanings by dislocating existing identities, exposing tensions or contradictions in the prevalent conceptions of world order and enabling “new” agents to assert particular representations of the world as universal. This paper seeks to reconstruct the dominant world order conception in India’s foreign policy discourse and how this interpretative framework, framed in this study as Modified Nehruvianism, informed the foreign policies of Indian governments between 1998 and 2014. By adopting a discursive analytical approach that explores how meanings are ascribed to the structures, actors, processes and challenges of global politics, it goes beyond the current general reading of India’s positioning in global issues with respect to the compliance to ‘Western’ norms and looks at India as a potential norm-shaper and creator of ideas.

This is a South Asia Work in Progress (SAWIP) event.

South Asia Work in Progress is an interdisciplinary forum for scholars of South Asia to present their ‘works in progress’ in a small-group setting. It forms part of the activities of Wolfson’s South Asia Research Cluster and is convened in partnership with the Contemporary South Asian Studies Programme. SAWIP offers a friendly verbal peer-review environment for the presentation and discussion of journal articles, book proposals, research projects and any other kind of research undertaking, at all stages of production from ‘sketchy’ to ‘close to press’. It aims to unite scholars from a range of disciplinary backgrounds and provide a space to explore both the craft of research and ways of approaching scholarship on South Asia. 

For more information, contact Dr Kate Sullivan, lecturer in Modern Indian Studies, Contemporary South Asian Studies Programme.

Research Centre