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It is, however, precisely the problems facing Africa – the poverty, the conflict, the disease – that tell very powerful stories which IR scholars should heed. Of course, calls for reprioritization within the field of IR are not new, and have been made by, among others, critical IR scholars. However, as Murphy laments, critical IR scholars, too, have failed in their quest to make IR more relevant: The critical turn in IR promised . . an empathetic understanding of those we study . . The promise of which has not been fulfilled because the research strategies of critical theorists have rarely given them direct access to the understandings of those outside the privileged core of world society.

In addition, popular culture has always been a vehicle for political statements. We need to explore how Africans express their views of the international through, for example, music and art. 3 How, for example, are social networking sites such as Facebook impacting the ways in which African youth (at least those with access to the Internet) interact with each other and the world? Today, millions of people share their opinions on a range of issues with a global audience via blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other online media.

Yet, 36 Thomas Kwasi Tieku 37 the experiences and voices of these people are conspicuously absent in major IR discourses and theories. This neglect has serious consequences not only for scholarship but also for real life, as the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the USA taught us. In spite of this, the IR field remains ontologically narrow and methodologically elitist. The EU alone still takes up more space in leading IR journals and books than the international life of Africans, Latin Americans, Caribbeans and South Asians combined (Buzan and Acharya, 2007; Haklai, 2009; Sondhi, 2006; Tickner, 2003a).

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