What is it about?

What if international relations had started in the first contact between hunter-gatherer bands, approximately 100-150,000 years ago, even before the transition from nomadism to Neolithic sedentary societies? The article explores what might have happened during a first prehistoric encounter among total strangers.

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Why is it important?

The nomadic life of our hunter-gatherer ancestors encompasses at least 90% of all Homo sapiens history. We badly need fresh narratives that transcend limiting cultural borders, whilst embracing the integral development of the human species in all its ways of political and social organisation.


If we admit that ideally International Relations (IR) studies should not be hampered by state-centrism and instead include other polities throughout the entire time span of the existence of Homo sapiens on the planet, the Palaeolithic period stands out as a strong candidate for further research. Bands of hunter-gatherers are the most basic form of political organisation. Is it high time to embrace a new founding myth for IR?

Mr Eugenio Vargas Garcia
Rio Branco Institute

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This page is a summary of: Back to prehistory: the quest for an alternative IR founding myth, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, December 2018, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/09557571.2018.1539948.
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