Maladies of our souls: Identity and voice in the writing of academic international relations

Roxanne Doty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Drawing primarily, but not exclusively on the work of Julia Kristeva and Roland Barthes on language, writing, and ‘the subject’, I examine the issue of identity and writing in international relations. I argue that what has come to be labeled ‘critical’ or ‘radical’ constructivism rather insistently points in the direction of opening up spaces for discussing our own writing and exploring our own voices in what we write, though this has not been actively pursued. Sociologist Avery Gordon uses the phrase ‘making common cause’ to argue that our encounters with the social world ‘must strive to go beyond the fundamental alienation of turning social relations into just things we know and toward our own reckoning with how we are in these stories, with how they change us’. It seems to me that this is not possible without giving attention to the issue of voice, specifically the voice we use when we write about international relations. To speak of voice is to raise many interesting and important questions, to ponder our use of language, our locations within our stories and the discourses we create, and perhaps most importantly to give recognition to the presence of desire in language and in the writing of international national relations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)377-392
Number of pages16
JournalCambridge Review of International Affairs
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations


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