Marx’s work retains its relevance despite the collapse of the Communist Party rule in the former
Of particular importance is Marx’s analysis of capitalism which has yet to be bettered.
Marxist analysis of international relations aim to reveal the hidden workings of global capitalism.
These hidden workings provide the context in which international events occur.
Marx himself provided little in terms of a theoretical analysis of IR.
His ideas have been interpreted and appropriated in a number of different and contradictory
ways, resulting in a number of competing schools of Marxism.
Underlying these different schools are several common elements that can be traced back to
Marxist theorists have consistently developed an analysis of the global aspects of international
capitalism—an aspect acknowledged by Marx, but not developed in Capital.
World-systems theory can be seen as a direct development of Lenin’s work on imperialism and
the Latin American Dependency School.
Feminist writers have contributed to the analysis of international capitalism by focusing on the
specific role of women.
Drawing upon the work of Antonio Gramsci for inspiration, writers within an Italian school of IR
have made a considerable contribution to thinking about world politics.
Gramsci shifted the focus of Marxist analysis more towards superstructural phenomena. In
particular, he explored the processes by which consent for a particular social and political system
was produced and reproduced through the operation of hegemony. Hegemony allows the ideas
and ideologies of the ruling stratum to become widely dispersed and widely accepted, throughout
Thinkers such as Robert W. Cox have attempted to “internationalize” Gramsci’s thought by
transposing several of his key concepts, most notably hegemony, to the global context.
Critical theory has its roots in the world of the Frankfurt School.
Habermas has argued that emancipatory potential lies in the realm of communication and that
radical and that radical democracy is the way in which that potential can be unlocked.
Andrew Linklater has developed critical theory themes to argue in favour of the expansion of the
moral boundaries of the political community, and has pointed to the European Union as an
example of a post-Westphalian institution of governance.
New Marxism is characteri