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Lecture 2

POLI381 Lecture 2: January 15th 2016

Political Science
Course Code
POLI 381
James( Jim) Francis Keeley

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January 15th 2016
People choose what has the best costs and benefits for them. What if that violates social norms? Then it
imposes a cost on you. You cannot ignore social norms. One of the problems with IR theory is that some
tend to ignore these normative costs.
The empirical and the normative do interact, this is key, remember this. They also interact in this way: we
want to study a question because we think it’s important. Our normative concerns can drive our research.
Our empirical research may impact our normative interests.
Empirical Theory:
Events Patterns Explanations, Predictions
We take events and order them into patterns, and then using these patterns we explain things or predict
What is the connection between events and patterns and how do we explain that?
Balance of Power Theories:
Other countries will attempt to keep strong countries down. Countries will align against and fight a war
against countries they find threatening.
From a theory like this, we can generate predictions. If a power is rising, we can expect other countries to
align against it.
For example: If China rises more, how will the United States respond?
We can test these theories by looking at instances where these conditions seem to be met. This means that
we need theories that are reasonably clear in what they predict. Clarity is key.
Bob Keohane: International Regimes Theory
-Cooperation among developed first wont countries
-Most likely case study
-If I’m right, it should work under these conditions
-Weak test, but it is a test
Joe Grieco: looks at a least likely case
-Cooperation in economic circumstances
-Is there really as much cooperation as liberals say?
-Realism tends to focus on the least likely scenario
Different strategies to use result in different reactions. A theory tells us )in some degree) what we’re
observing, how things connect, why they happened, etc.
For Example: The Stone on the String
-Two interpretations
-Constrained fall
Different theories present different interpretations of phenomena. Theories differ in fundamental ways.
They decide on what the phenomena is in the first place, not just how to interpret it (see the stone on the
string example). Additionally, all theories simplify, they leave things out, they provide interpretations that
are limited. Theories are like maps, maps aren’t the territory that they display, they are a way of showing
it. A theory is a story you tell about the story you’re telling.
International Systems
International Societies
Transnational Relations Model
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