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Fairy Tales and International Relations : A folklorist reading of International Relations textbooks
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This book offers a critical engagement with contemporary IR textbooks via a novel folklorist approach. Two parts of the folklorist approach are developed, addressing story structures via resemblances to two fairy tales, and engaging with the role of authors via framing gestures. The book not only looks at how the idea of ‘social science’ may persist in textbooks as many assumptions about what it means to study IR, but also at how these assumptions are written into the defining stories textbooks tell and the possibilities for (re)negotiating these stories and the boundaries of the discipline.
This book will specifically engage with how the stories in textbooks constrain how it is possible to define IR through its (re)production as a social science discipline. In the first part, story structures are explored via Donkeyskin and Bluebeard stories which the book argues resemble some structures in textbooks that define how it is permissible to tell stories about IR. In the second part the role of authors is explored via their framing gestures within a text, drawing on a number of fairy tales. By approaching the stories in textbooks alongside fairy tales, Starnes reflects back onto IR the disciplining practices in the stories textbooks tell by rendering them unfamiliar.
Aiming to spark a critical conversation about the role of textbooks in defining the boundaries of what counts as IR and by extension the boundaries of the IR canon, this book is of great interest to students and scholars of international relations.