Voices matter. We already know that they can be rallying cries for justice, equality and freedoms in many arenas. Perhaps this is why we are constantly told to ‘have a voice’, to ‘use our voice’, to ‘voice our concerns’. Yet, while voices can be framed as productive forces, many people remain silent and silenced within international relations. Coming face to face with this reality raises a series of fundamental questions. What is a voice? Who has a voice? How do we hear and understand different voices? Can older voices speak to contemporary realties? Can contemporary voices respond to historical legacies?
We created Contemporary Voices of International Relations (CVIR) as a space in which scholars can explore these questions anew. More broadly, we wanted to create a journal that celebrated the ever-changing ways in which international relations are constructed and contested. Obviously, this is an extremely difficult task. In an era of rapid digital transformations, surveillance and fake news, every moment becomes worthy of critical investigation and collective conversations.
Against this backdrop, CVIR seeks to cultivate a feeling that nothing is off limits when it comes to the study of international relations. In this way, we are seeking to transcend conceptual straightjackets that dictate what voices are and can be. Certainly, voices are typically understood as verbal modes of communication. Without denying that words are extremely powerful, CVIR also calls attention to other means of encountering international relations. To capture this energy, CVIR seeks to publish pieces that will surprise, inspire and challenge readers to rethink their own positionalities, subjectivities and insecurities. We are mindful that our initial attempts to embark on this journey will be difficult. However, we still hope that the pieces that we publish will allow us all to learn more about international relations as they continue to unfold.
The Editors, St Andrews
26 April 2019