The Underside of Order: Race in the Constitution of International Order

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Politics (Scripps)

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Political Science


While there is increasing recognition of the role of race in shaping global politics, the extent to which the construction and operation of international order is entangled with race remains underexplored. In this article, I argue for the centrality of race and racialization in understanding the constitution of international order by theorizing the constitutive connections between race and international order and showing how the two can be examined as intertwined. I do this, first, by articulating conceptualizations of both international order and race that center on processes of regulation and regularization. Second, I bring these together to suggest that race be understood as a form of order that functions to reproduce a historically emergent form of hierarchy and domination across a range of spaces and contexts. Third, I operationalize these conceptualizations by outlining and historicizing some of the key features of this racialized and racializing international order, specifically coloniality, the racial state, and racial capitalism, and thereby illustrate important aspects of the persistence of this order. Centering race in the study of international order, I suggest, helps us better understand how racializing hierarchies and racialized inequalities persist in the present and are reproduced through structures and practices of international order.

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© 2024 Owen R Brown

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.