Last class we were talking about the issue of human rights.
There is a tension theoretically and practically concerning the study of IR. There is a
concept of state sovereignty. The idea of non-interference. Rights are being abused. How
do we pursue human rights at the IR level? What leads states to promote human rights.
Human rights implies that individuals are more important than the states. Human rights
implies that state …..voice memo
If a state is abusing the rights of its citizens, can other states intervene? Logically, yes.
Practically, realistically, the answer is not clear. ATL, invisions of human rights is a
public good. Why would states want to do this if it undermines their authority? Things to
note in transition:
Human rights are deritical concepts as much as political. Courts have become the forms
where individuals assert their rights. Idea of universal jurisdiction (most controversial)
which holds that the state can claim the right to prosecute someone for a crime against
humanity regardless of their citizenship. Ex. Spain can administer warrants for arrest for
Bush, etc. The idea of universal jurisdiction is reserved for war crimes.
Human rights will prosper VOICE MEMO
War crimes—crimes against humanity…
One thing to consider is how the various theories discussed relates to this type of conflict.
Ethnic conflict is understood in terms of civil war. ATL, how do we go from that to
talking to IR politics?
Difficult to define because it has objective features (natural—race and language) and
subjective (socialized into these things).
Social identity theory is introduced—individuals associate in groups and in the process
distinguish us from others. “In” groups and “Out” groups.
Multiple reasons for these associations—need, interest that we want to pursue, meeting
the issue of self-esteem…
Ethnic identity refers to the boundary of these groups.
How do you define ethnicity that is meaningful for social science?
Tends to involve generalizations and caricatures of stereotypes.
Definition that highlights 5 traits:
Ethnic group can be defined as one that perceives itself to be culturally distinct in terms
of language, customs, religious beliefs, physical appearance or region of residence.
Are they objective or subjective features??
Constructivism focuses on ideas of norms, appropriateness, things that are subjective. There are two basic forms of conflict that can be identified: irredentism, self-
determination. They are distinct logically but do overlap.
Irredentism refers to movements that lay claim on specific territory—usually because it
has significance to that group.
Self-determination refers to movements that seek some form of national autonomy
usually expressed in some form of a state. (in the form of a nation state… VOICE
Problem for IR because these two issues:
Many ethnic groups spill over borders between various nations. Often distributed
between many states so if a group presses an irredentist claim, they will often push these
claims against a pre-existing state.
If this pressing a claim leads to conflict, they can in some sense wind up triggering a
For ex, the kurds in Iraq and Iran: they can push for separation and it can turn into a
Ethnic conflict is a reflection of the cold war. The idea here is that ethnic groups were
proxies for the super powers. They do not want to fight directly. Ethnic conflict is a
function of a bipolar system.
Ethnic conflict is a reflection of anti
Attempt of communities to resist the dissolution of their way of life in the face of
Ancient hatred, the idea here is that different groups have a shared history of violence
that goes back decades or even centuries, and conflicts between them—antagonism.
Arises in the 90s to explain the Balkan wars. Problem that comes out of this….
VOICE MEMO me
Theory of relative deprivation:
Particular group sees themselves as disadvantaged. Discriminated against
politically/economically….resort to violence. Strong correlation between this and ethnic
Division of power and economic adva