Sufism: A Theoretical Intervention in Global International Relations.

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Date: Spring 2021
From: Insight Turkey(Vol. 23, Issue 2)
Publisher: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic, and Social Research
Document Type: Article
Length: 1,333 words
Lexile Measure: 1650L

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Since the end of the Cold War, growing criticisms of Eurocentrism in Western academia have been complemented with an increasing interest in non-Western traditions of thought. Sufism: A Theoretical Intervention in Global International Relations is both a contribution to these issues/debates and an attempt to go beyond them. It is a contribution because it shares the goal of going beyond Eurocentrism. It is an attempt to go beyond these debates because, unlike previous approaches, such as Non-Western International Relations Theory (NWIRT) and post-colonial approaches, it has different goals. It aims to develop a post-Western IR theory that is (i) not a derivative discourse of Western IR, (ii) does not simply replace Eurocentrism with yet another 'centrism'--in other words, it is 'non-centric' (p. 42) and (iii) does not generate an exceptionalist discourse. Deepshikha Shahi proposes that "Sufi Global IR theory" can meet such requirements (pp. 5-6).

In Chapter 2, Ali Balci attempts to demonstrate that, contrary to Husserl's identification of theoretical knowledge production with European thinkers, non-Western thinkers can also produce theoretical knowledge. Balci analyzes the ideas of al-Ghazali and Ibn al-Arabi and shows how their perception of knowledge as something that "is not fixed in the nature of things but an interpretation imposed on things" and "how knowledge is produced in/for power-relations" can challenge existing disciplinary limitations and provide innovative ways of understanding the knowledge-power nexus in Global IR. In accordance with the main goals of the book, in Chapter 3 Shahi attempts to show that "Sufi threefold attribute ('epistemological monism,' 'ontological immaterialism' and 'methodological eclecticism,' which are embodied in Rumi's poetry) can be channelized to cultivate a 'non-centric' Global IR theory" (p. 42).

Chapters 4-8 discuss the potentials and limits of the Sufi idea of the 'oneness of reality' (wahdat al-wujud). In Chapter 4, Fait Muedini shows how non-dualistic God-world conceptions-particularly the Sufi approach to the 'oneness of reality'-"can be mobilized to abolish the consciousness of superficial deviations among the so-called Western and non-Western worlds, thereby fostering a more integrated discourse on...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A666521315