Concepts at Work: On the Linguistic Infrastructure of World Politics

Piki Ish-Shalom*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Concepts are socially and linguistically constructed and used for multiple purposes, such as justifying war in the name of democracy; or, using the idea of democracy to resist Western intervention and influence. In this fascinating and novel edited collection, Piki Ish-Shalom and the contributors interrogate the "conceptions of concepts" in international relations. Using theoretical frameworks from Gramsci and Bourdieu, among others, the authors show that not interrogating the meaning of the language we use to talk about international relations obscures the way we understand (or portray) IR. The authors examine self-determination, winning in war, avoidance of war, military design and reform agenda, vagueness in political discourse, "blue economy," friendship, and finally, the very idea of the "international community" itself. As the author asserts, Bourdieu's sociology of field and Gramsci's political theory, combined, "offer us a socio-political theory of relations of power and domination concealed by doxic knowledge and taken-for-granted rules, in which essential contested concepts and political-serving conceptions can and do play an important role."

Original languageAmerican English
PublisherUniversity of Michigan Press
Number of pages229
ISBN (Electronic)9780472128686
ISBN (Print)9780472132447
StatePublished - 20 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by Piki Ish-Shalom. All rights reserved.


Dive into the research topics of 'Concepts at Work: On the Linguistic Infrastructure of World Politics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this