I draw to a close my reflections on the ‘doing’ of IR by returning to the epigram at the head of this chapter from W. L Watkinson, an English Methodist minister. It is also the motto of Amnesty International. If the idea of ‘crossings’ in the title comes from my confession, made at the beginning, that the personal, the professional and the political have been interwoven in my approach to IR over four decades, the other image in the title encapsulates a belief that IR – especially in its critical mode – is a kind of candle that casts light in often very dark places.
There is a paradox which stalks the discipline of IR: as it speaks of peace, the principle of sovereignty, which is at the centre of its world view, looks out upon messy – and often very violent – social relationships. These pages have suggested that there are no uncontaminated places in the making and remaking of these social relationships; there is thus no space where IR can escape the hot breath of compromise, concession or conciliation. However, the task, which lies beyond the pages of this book, is to recognise that despite all that we are taught, this is still a largely unexplored world. It remains a place of infinite possibilities and a site of great hope.