Document Type : Research Paper


1 Professor of International Relations, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

2 Honorary Research Associate in Political Studies, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa


As the self-image of International Relations as a “hegemonic discipline”, under the influence of the American IR community, is questioned and challenged, the issue of “others” in IR, particularly those in the global South, and their approaches to and understandings of the “international” are becoming increasingly significant. IR communities in the global South are perceived to have different understandings of the “international,” which need to be reflected in IR to make the discipline more inclusive and global. As it is assumed that IR scholars in the more active and powerful countries in the international system have more interest in understanding the world, IR communities in countries known as regional powers can be seen as good candidates for having their voices heard in IR. This article, a comparative study of IR in South Africa and Iran as two major regional powers, examines the reception and application of the Western-centric IR by Iranian and South African IR scholars, as well as their home-grown innovations in order to illustrate the way in which the plurality in IR is reflected in scholarship in these two countries. Despite similarities in experience, their differences indicate the way in which voices from the global South are far from being monolithic.


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