Facing Human Interconnections: Thinking International Relations into the Future

Type Article
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Relations
Early online date08 Aug 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 08 Aug 2020
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Communities on the planet are faced with complex challenges: changing relations within and between human communities, changing relations with ecological and climactic conditions, and shifts in technology-human interconnections. The complex interconnections across issue areas – migration, environmental degradation and new technologies, for example – demand that scholars increasingly think across theories, paradigms, specialisms and disciplines. But how should we ‘hold things together’ as we try to make sense of complex realities in IR? This introductory article to the Special Issue ‘Facing Human Interconnections: Thinking IR into the Future’ discusses the open thematic of ‘human interconnections’ that is used to loosely structure the contributions. Analysis of ‘human interconnections’, as understood here, does not have a precise or fixed definition but is considered an open-ended notion with varied meanings and dimensions. Indeed, the authors engage it here in varied ways to explore their empirical, theoretical and political concerns. Yet, this notion also allows for interesting new questions to be posed on the potential and limits of IR as it faces the future, and debates around how we see interconnections between issue areas and -isms, how IR constructs ‘humans’ or ‘non-humans’ in interconnections, and what is at stake in bringing to our attention unacknowledged interconnections. Here we set out why human interconnection is an interesting notion to work with and why we need to keep its meaning open-ended. We also provide an account of six different orientations we observe amongst the authors tackling the dynamics of ‘human interconnections’ in this Special Issue.


  • Interconnection, Human, Non-human, Global challenges, International Relations discipline, Futures