Enfolding wholes in parts: quantum holography and International Relations

Pan, Chengxin 2020, Enfolding wholes in parts: quantum holography and International Relations, European Journal of International Relations, vol. 26, no. 1 supplement, pp. 14-38, doi: 10.1177/1354066120938844.

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Title Enfolding wholes in parts: quantum holography and International Relations
Author(s) Pan, ChengxinORCID iD for Pan, Chengxin orcid.org/0000-0002-9771-7563
Journal name European Journal of International Relations
Volume number 26
Issue number 1 supplement
Start page 14
End page 38
Total pages 25
Publisher SAGE Publications
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2020-09
ISSN 1354-0661
1460-3713
Keyword(s) Relationalism
quantum holographic ontology
David Bohm
the state
whole-part duality
International Relations theory
Summary This article stands at the intersection between the relational turn in International Relations (IR) and the quantum turn in the social sciences (and more recently in IR as well). The relational turn draws much-needed attention to the centrality of relations in global politics, yet its imprecise conceptualization of whole-part relations casts shadow over its relational ontological foundation. The quantum turn, meanwhile, challenges the observed–observer dichotomy as well as the classical views about causality, determinacy, and measurement. Yet, despite their common stance against the Newtonian ontology, the relational and quantum turns have largely neglected each other at least in the IR context. This article aims to bridge this gap by introducing a quantum holographic approach to relationality. Drawing on theoretical physicist David Bohm’s work on quantum theory and his key concepts about wholeness and the implicate order, the article argues that the world is being holographically (trans)formed: its parts are not only parts of the whole, but also enfold the whole, like in a hologram. This quantum holographic ontology contributes to both a clearer differentiation between internal/implicate relations and external/explicate relations and a renewed emphasis on wholeness and whole-part duality. In doing so, it not only provides new conceptual tools to rethink IR as holographic relations which involve the dynamic processes and mechanisms of enfoldment and unfoldment, but also has important policy and ethical implications for the conduct of “foreign” relations and for transforming the way we think about identity, survival, relationship, and responsibility.
Language eng
DOI 10.1177/1354066120938844
Indigenous content off
Field of Research 160607 International Relations
1605 Policy and Administration
1606 Political Science
Socio Economic Objective 940399 International Relations not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30143429

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Arts and Education
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
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