Making friends with uncertainty: hopeful futurities in telling stories about global politics

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Abstract

Uncertainty causes epistemological anxiety in the study of world politics. Rather than assuming that uncertainty is something to manage, measure, minimize, deny, or fear, this chapter proceeds from a different premise: How would the study of world politics be different if scholars embraced uncertainty in their work? In response, we treat uncertainty not as something to overcome, but as a research ethos and epistemological practice that can shape knowledge, knowledge-making practices, and the knowledge creators themselves. We begin by asking: What makes prediction, certainty, and fixity cherished goals for this discipline? To explore this question, we draw on our collective experiences as researchers, students, and teachers of international relations. We treat pedagogy as a site of both analytic interest and power. Next, we highlight how embracing uncertainty has the potential to challenge hierarchies of knowledge creation in world politics. Drawing on feminist and decolonial perspectives, we demonstrate how embracing uncertainty in research challenges hierarchies by moving away from the reification of “that which can be reasonably known” and towards meaningfully reckoning with the role of emotions and fluid identities in shaping theories and experiences of world politics.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUncertainty in global politics
EditorsMiriam Matejova, Anastasia Shesterinina
Place of PublicationAbingdon, Oxon
PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
Chapter14
Pages252-269
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781003426080
ISBN (Print)9781032546704, 9781032546711
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2023

Publication series

NameNew international relations

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