'Hell is the Other': conceptualising hegemony and identity through discourse theory

Eva Herschinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


The concept of hegemony has regained attention from various theoretical perspectives in International Relations. This article argues that IR-poststructuralism can offer an independent perspective on the production of hegemonies in international politics. Based on IR-poststructuralism and poststructuralist discourse theory, it develops a conceptual framework and an associated methodological approach for the analysis of international hegemonies in concrete discourses. Thereby, the article conceptualises international hegemonies as the creation of a specific type of collective identity while arguing that for hegemonies to emerge, both the creation of an antagonistic Other and a vision of the opposed Self are necessary. The workings of the conceptual framework are illustrated with a comparative reconstruction of United Nations discourses on international terrorism and drug prohibition from 1961 to 2011.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-90
Number of pages26
Issue number1
Early online date11 Jul 2012
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2012

Bibliographical note

Parts of this research have been generously supported by the German Research Foundation. I would like to thank Cornelia Brüll, Anne Koch, Stephan Stetter, the anonymous reviewers and
most notably Frank Sauer for their constructive and helpful comments on different versions of this article.


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