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Existentialism and International Relations: In it up to our necks

This article was written by Andrew Hom and Cian O'Driscoll
This article was published on

In this short summary video Andrew Hom and Cian O'Driscoll discuss the key arguments from their new Review of International Studies article - Existentialism and International Relations: In it up to our necks. This article is part of a special issue on Existentialism that will be published late in 2023.

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What, this essay asks, is the relation between contemporary IR scholarship and the existentialist intellectual and cultural tradition? How is our discipline informed and animated by existentialist thinking? Is existentialism a heritage to be recovered, claimed, and embraced by IR scholars, or a shadow to be escaped? And what resources does it furnish us for thinking through the kind of issues that IR scholars are called upon to grapple with today? These questions are not purely theoretical. There are practical and political reasons, not only for considering them, but for considering them now. Living through what has been termed an unfolding ‘Age of Anxiety’, we find ourselves confronted by existential questions and existentialist ideas at almost every turn. It is, however, unclear how substantive or meaningful this apparently existentialist moment truly is. Does existentialism have something to say to contemporary IR, or does it flatter to deceive? We think the time is ripe to take stock of existentialism as it relates to IR and global politics. This is the purpose of this article and of the collection of essays it introduces.

Image from Myko M on Unsplash