JOURNAL OF DEFENCE STUDIES

Kautilya and Non-Western IR Theory by Deepshikha Shahi

Dr Michael Liebig is Fellow and Lecturer, Department of Political Science, South Asia Institute (SAI), Heidelberg University. He can be contacted at michael.liebig@sai.uni-heidelberg.de
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  • April-June 2019
    Volume: 
    13
    Issue: 
    2
    Book Review

    The recognition of Kautilya’s Arthashastra as a foundational text of international relations (IR) theory has been a cumbersome process, both in India and internationally. The IR community has exhibited a rather neurotic attitude towards Kautilya, ranging from outright denial of his relevance for the discipline to hesitant admission that there are conceptual elements in the Arthashastra which have theoretical eigenvalue as well as relevance for empirical research. The reasons for this uptightness are Eurocentrism and, in the case of Indian academia, lasting post-colonial unease with endogenous intellectual resources. Moreover, very few in the IR community have actually studied Kautilya’s Arthashastra and since their knowledge is second hand, it is inevitably fragmentary and biased.

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