Call for papers: Identity in international relations

This article was published on

Place: SOAS, London

Date: 17-18 June 2017

N.B. This is a past event. We are no longer accepting applications for this workshop. 

Following the annual BISA conference, the conveners of Interpretivism in International Relations (IIR) host a workshop exploring the range of interpretive methods and methodologies in the study of the politics of identity. The aim of the workshop is to discuss how interpretation and critique can be combined methodologically when studying ‘identity’ and its performance in international relations. We will look at various research techniques that enable a critical exploration identity claims, processes of identification and their impact in world politics. 

From the call for proposals:

Expressing and negotiating one’s identities requires a vocabulary with which conceptions of Self and Other are presented. Starting from the view that the study of these representations inevitably involves an interpretive effort, we want to probe the different forms this interpretation can take, including the aims for which it is undertaken - disclosing, enacting or disrupting particular conceptions of ‘identity’. In particular:

  • Rather than assuming that ‘identity’, whether individual or collective, is fixed and singular, scholarship now looks at open-ended processes of identification and the reality of multiple identities. What methods can we use to interpret this complexity? 

  • The constructions, uses and contestation of Self/Other representations – the politics of ‘identity’ – are expressions of power. What forms of power are at play here and how can interpretive methods capture and critically interrogate them?

  • Identity can be used as both an analytical category and a category of political discourse. What (epistemological and ethical) tensions does this overlap create for the researcher and how do interpretive approaches deal with this?

  • The motivation for studying the political construction and performance of identities/processes of identification can be (i) to understand how they influence international relations or (ii) to critically deconstruct them. Are the two aims and agendas compatible methodologically?

This workshop will be the first of two. The second workshop will take place in St Petersburg, Russia in October. We intend to select the best papers for publication, either in a special issue or in an edited volume.


PDF / 335.71 KB