Between Borders: Pop Cultural Heroes and Plural Childhoods in IR
- 10 Downloads
This chapter engages with the promise, problems, and prospects of studying childhood in disciplinary IR by exploring three questions: How might study of popular culture illuminate or obscure the roles that children and childhoods already play in world politics? Can it help us think holistically about the plurality of childhoods that IR might observe? How can we avoid foci that reproduce privilege and power asymmetries in world politics and in IR? In this chapter, an intergenerational, inter-racial, and cross-cultural research team adopts a “world-travelling” approach to remember and collectively deliberate on pop culture that was important to us in childhood. This approach disrupts the IR field’s often uncritical reliance on ‘credentialed’ voices and exclusionary knowledge-gathering and evaluating processes. Looking at the IR themes in the artifacts, practices, and ‘heroes’ that we recall as meaningful to us, we show how the ‘commonsense’ of IR is reproduced in and through children's lives. We also show how much is lost from the dominant IR narratives through the structural exclusion of diverse children’s perspectives and experiences and through failures of intergenerational curiosity and empathy. Our recollections reveal that children often are not protected, or are only partially protected, from world politics—from war, deportation, drugs, poverty, racism, and gangs—which is part of their everyday lives; and they use pop culture to help make meaning out of these experiences, and to shape how they/we act in the world. In integrating childhoods into IR, we need to be mindful of how children of color, including those in wealthy, donor states in the North are implicated, and of how the intersections in young lives of race, class, gender, and other identity factors can be fairly represented in the narratives of world politics.
- Bleiker, Roland. 2000. Popular Dissent, Human Agency and Global Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Caso, Frederica, and Caitlin Hamilton, eds. 2015. Popular Culture and World Politics: Theories, Methods, Pedagogies. Bristol: E-International Relations.Google Scholar
- de Certeau, Michel. 1988. The Practice of Everyday Life. Translated by Steven Rendall. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Dittmer, Jason. 2010. Popular Culture, Geopolitics and Identity. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
- Grayson, Kyle, Matt Davies, and Simon Philpott. 2009. “Pop Goes IR? Researching the Popular Culture-World Politics Continuum.” Politics 29 (3): 155–163. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9256.2009.01351.x.
- Lugones, Maria. 1987. “Playfulness, “World”-Travelling, and Loving Perception.” Hypatia 2 (2): 3–19. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1527-2001.1987.tb01062.x.
- McEvoy-Levy, Siobhán. 2018. Peace and Resistance in Youth Cultures: Reading the Politics of Peacebuilding from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
- Nexon, Daniel H., and Iver B. Neuman, eds. 2006. Harry Potter and International Relations. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
- Pearcey, Mark. 2016. The Exclusions of Civilization: Indigenous Peoples in the Story of International Society. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
- Shapiro, Michael. 2008. Cinematic Geopolitics. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Sylvester, Christine. 2016. “Creativity.” In Critical Imaginations in International Relations, edited by Aoileann Ní Mhurchú and Reiko Shindo, 56–68. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Weldes, Jutta. ed. 2003. To Seek Out New Worlds: Exploring Links Between Science Fiction and World Politics. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar