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Theory of IR.docx

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University of Calgary
Political Science
POLI 381
Robert Neil Huebert

Theory of IR THE NATURE OF THE FIELD  Objective: To understand what we mean by the term “field” o What is the field of International Relations o Why should you care? o How do we view the field?  The role of Theory FIELDS  Why do we need them?  What do they contribute?  What do they cost?  Who gets to build it?  IR Sub-Field o IR Theory o IR Security o Political Economy o International Organization THE THEORIES OF IR: OR HOW TO PICK A LENS TO “SEE”  Realism o Historically most people have used. Also most attacked.  Liberalism o The counter to realism. Doesn’t say realism is totally bankrupt, realism has some stuff right but some elements wrong. Modified within international system.  Marxism o Liberals and realists have it wrong.  Feminism o New entry.  Eco-politics o Environment. Idea of making some form of variable that relate to the environment/the ecology is something that is even more recent than feminism literature. Many in the field saying there is room for environmental studies but not in IR.  Post-Positivists  Social Constructions REALISM  State-based  Role of National Power  Conflict  Dark side of Human Nature  Hard Power o Military power supported by economic power supported in the system o Can have stability in anarchic system  balance of power.  Ahistorical o Means we can go back to history (Spartan) conflict and draw knowledge. Essence of what they were doing, type of diplomacy, is the same then as it is now.  Hans Morganthau o Modern day starts with Hans Morganthau o Born in Germany and was a German Jew. o Committed to understanding how states act and how do you deal with certain circumstances (example Holocaust) o States are the critical units o International system is in a state of anarchy. Nothing exists that will let us set up a system. o System being dominated by conflict o Attack the idea that there should be morality in the system  Western states in particular have this problem.  Thucydides o Hans uses his writings. o Greek o Military Officer, government official, POW  Policy making perspective o A lot of policy makers will think along the lines of realism LIBERALISM  State plus other actors/units o Core ontology is the state but there is more including institutions etc.  Conflict and Cooperation  Human Nature can Learn  Soft/Hard Power o Ideas can transform the international system. o Hard power  military power. o Soft power  power of ideas.  Joe Nye o Examining what happened at the end of the Cold War o Soft power.  Woodward Wilson MARXISM  Analytical element o Both a theory and also an action plan (failed as an action plan? Marxism becomes associated with the major enemies of the West. Needs to be stamped out? Argument to support that) o As a theoretical lens does it give us an understanding realism and liberalism do not?  Focus on Economic Interaction  Political Power of Economics  Ruling Elites use State for their own interests o Need to understand the political interests of your political elites then you will understand the state.  Human Nature if dark, but can be forced to be improved o Mankind = greedy.  Unequal relations between States  Karl Marx o German writing in Britain o Writing in a period of extreme imperialism. Rising economic inequalities. o Asks – What really drives the citizen? Why interested in ruling others + colonization? o State is not core ontological unit. Creation of ruling elites. To understand econ
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