Week 3 – Lecture 3
Sociology 265 – War, States and Social Change
Assumptions about realist theory aren’t dropped regarding a hegemonic theory
- still an anarchic world but it is changed by the presence of a hegemon, but the hegemon still acts as the same way as
realism describes▯ tries to maximise its own role
o but it doesn’t do this for the good of everyone, but for it’s own good in the process it produces a set of benefits
that advantage everyone
- provides stabilisers for the capitalist system
o provides a common exchange currency – e.g. dollar or gold standard
for cross-border trade to occur
o free trade benefit because it helps those at the top of value-added chain
history of the Netherlands, GB and US those at the centre of capitalism drive free trade because it
• unlike the Third World
o absorber of excessive goods from everywhere else in the world – e.g. USAconsumes 25% of world’s gross
= common currency means budget deficits can run as much as they want
= hegemon enjoys the benefits at the top of the chain produce high tech, high value added goods expands free trade (sometimes
unilaterally not multilaterally) = the whole system of liberal-caputalist benefits
but the hegemon does not act to aid everyone but actually to aid the hegemon
assumption that there is an anarchic world without the hegemon
- otherwise it would be all against all
states are the actors and they act to maximise their national goal the hegemon is strong enough, when it pursues its own goals, it
produces a set of externalities that benefit all
- not as anarchic as it once was, when there was one power strong enough to set the rules of the game
o military deterrent from the hegemon that can destroy all
the hegemon takes military services
• e.g. the USA– military presence in Europe post WW2
o provided a deterrent for countries to not wage war against each other
o sets the economic system to a stable more calculable environment – currency etc.
according to the theory of hegemonic stability theory US is a hegemon – in decline or more open?! (debated)
- decline – using force e.g. Iraq and Afghanis▯aunable to work hegemon role because it needs to rely on military power
argument of theory – not supposed to actually take military action reputation should be enough
- has the USAever even been a whole hegemon?
Theory = certain people propose this as an explanation for the system
- US is the biggest example yet has it ever actually fitted this person?
o Allowed by the support of other European countries
o Presenter of interests of the western world even post-WW2 it did not truly represent the power of all
HST – specifically for a liberal-capitalist world
- only can have one hegemon at one time ▯defines a peaceful situation
o how does this theory explain when war’s break out?
When there is no clear hegemon or challenges to the previous hegemon challenges to the leading
position or system
• No hegemon provides stability = LEADS TO WAR (read Gilpin)
Does the HST explain much/stand up to argument?
- what do people say in favour of it?
- Against it?
o In many nations there is a lot of dislike of the hegemonic theory HST – assume states are rational actors?
- states are the actors – hegemon provides a set of external information which is more predictable and workable
hegemon – does in the short and long term, what it believes will maximise its position even if eventually hegemonic power will
have to be given up
What is the commonalities between the HST and liberalism?
- HST requires a stable trading relationship between the different states – forces other states to conform to the economic
type that belongs to the hegemonic
o Free trade and capitalism often = makes sense that globalisation has occurred
o Liberalism = economic aspect why there is peace between liberal-capitalist countries
Expansion of liberal free-trade environment is very common = breakdown
- Liberalism = hegemon provides a peaceful order
Gilpin – Explaining Wars in the Modern World
- central argument in the article: specific argu▯an institutionalist on▯a common reason for the majority of
breakout of wars in the modern world since 1800 = multiple breaking points but 2 critical institutional changes in the last
2 decades of how the government should be = institutional growth of imperial systems and then the shift away from
empires to nation states (institutional forms of government)
o wars seem to be very centred around 2 institutions