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Lecture No. 2 Theories of World.docx

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Political Science
PSCI 1100
Hans Martin Jaeger

th Lecture No. 2 Theories of World Friday, January 18 , 2013 I. Traditional (or “Mainstream”) Theories a. Realism – long tradition in history of political thought, dominant since World War II. Study the world “as it is,” not how it ought to be. The core idea is that world politics is a struggle for power among states i) States = main actors; pursue national interests ii) Roots of conflict in human nature (lust for power) iii) International politics = condition of anarchy (absence of world government) iv) States face a security dilemma. v) Order in world politics through balance of power b. Liberalism - Roots in the Enlightenment (late 17 -18 century) beliefs in rationality, progress, individualism, constitutional government, human rights. The core idea is Peaceful international relations are possible, especially among democracies & by establishing international institutions i) States and non-state actors shape world politics ii) Democracy makes a difference in int’l relations iii) Social and economic relations between states create international solidarity & interdependence iv) International law and international organizations can promote cooperation among states c. Neorealism and Neoliberalism - Towards a “science” of international relations. NR: human nature < anarchy as cause of conflict. NL: anarchy + rational states = poss. of cooperation II. Alternative (or “Critical”) Theories a. Marxism – origin in the writings of Marx and Engels. Core ideas are Capitalism drives world politics and that Theory should not simply explain, but help to change the world i) Capitalism drives states and non-state actors towards conflict and imperialism. ii) Dominant countries exploit/rule subordinate ones just like capitalists exploit/rule the working class. → world politic
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