Studying the Bandung conference from a Global IR perspective

Amitav Acharya

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44 Scopus citations


Mainstream international relations scholarship has ignored or disparaged the significance and legacies of the Bandung conference. The author argues in favour of its importance, not only for any serious investigation into the evolution of the post-war international order, but also for the development of Global IR as a truly universal discipline: a global international relations. Few events offer more fertile ground for rethinking the established boundaries of international relations. After introducing the concept of a global international relations, the author then considers ways in which the conference’s key legacies challenge conventional accounts and attest to the ‘agency’ of the newly independent states in the making of the post-war international order. The legacies this section focuses on include frustration at Western attempts to ‘sabotage’ the conference; the delegitimisation of collective defence pacts and the development of the Non-Aligned Movement; the emergence of a South-East Asian regionalism; the strengthening of emergent global norms affirming decolonisation, human rights, universalism and the United Nations; and support for the ‘comity’, over the ‘clash’, of civilisations. The author also canvasses negative legacies of the conference, including the polarisation of Asia and the encouragement of authoritarian tendencies and regional interventionist impulses. The author concludes by drawing implications of the conference for the study of global international relations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-357
Number of pages16
JournalAustralian Journal of International Affairs
Issue number4
StatePublished - 3 Jul 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Australian Institute of International Affairs.


  • Asian-African Conference
  • Bandung conference
  • Non-Aligned Movement
  • South-East Asian regionalism
  • global international relations


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