Oh help! Oh no! The international politics of The Gruffalo: Children’s picturebooks and world politics

Jarvis, Lee ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4149-7135 and Robinson, Nick (2024) Oh help! Oh no! The international politics of The Gruffalo: Children’s picturebooks and world politics. Review of International Studies, 50 (1). pp. 58-78. ISSN 0260-2105

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The article explores the importance of children’s picturebooks – a seemingly-insignificant site of global politics – through an original reading of The Gruffalo. It argues that this text provides an important, polysemous, vernacular theorisation of global politics which: (i) reproduces the international as a pessimistic, anarchical world populated by self-interested, survival-seekers; (ii) simultaneously destabilises this reading through evocation of the social production of threat; and, (iii) offers opportunity for a more fundamental decolonial critique of the international through its parochial privileging of its protagonist’s journey through a ‘deep dark wood’. Three contributions are made. First, empirically, we broaden research on popular culture and world politics through investigating a surprisingly neglected example of the former. Second, theoretically, we demonstrate the work such texts perform in (re)creating and (de)stabilising (knowledge of) global politics. Third, we offer a composite methodological framework for critically interrogating the context, content, and framing of complex texts like The Gruffalo.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Supplementary material: The supplementary material for this article can be found at https://doi.org/10.1017/S0260210523000098. Video Abstract: To view the online video abstract, please visit: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0260210523000098
Uncontrolled Keywords: popular culture,global politics,children's literature,international relations theory,the gruffalo
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > Critical Global Politics
Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > Political, Social and International Studies
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2023 17:31
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2024 01:39
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/91305
DOI: 10.1017/S0260210523000098

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