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POLS 2200 Lecture Notes - Metatheory, Hedley Bull, John Rupert Firth

Political Science
Course Code
POLS 2200
Mark Yanisziewski

of 2
November 20
The English School
Originated in the US back in 50s by American scholars
o Tried to combine realism and liberalism
At the time US at cusck of behaviourist revolution
Handful of American scholar who worked with their English counterparts (that's where name
came from), flourished in England
Fundamental core: join together realism and liberalism, reconcile the two
o Not as pessimistic as realists on possibility of co-operation
Positivists vs. post-positivists
Positivists - reality is there, objectively there
o Behaviourists
o Traditional (where English school fits in)
Reason why they reject behaviourists is because it is hard to quantify things
using a statistical technique (ie. What is the number for justice?)
Traditional -> qualitative, behaviourists -> quantitative
Post-Positivists - believe reality is a property of mind; what we think is real
o Postmodernists
o Discourse
o Constructivists
The English school
International system international society
Each individual in are at least interconnected with one another in society
International politics is anarchic but at the same time there is at least some order
o Common rules and values between players, especially big ones
What makes it an international society?
o Enlightened self-interest becomes a widely entrenched international norm
o Example- Greeks and Persians
Not uncommon for a ruler to show his disdain of the other ruler by killing the
emissary (representative, messenger)
Greatly inhibited rulers to talk to each other
Beneficial to not kill other emissary so they don't kill ours, we will be able to talk
to each other
Diplomatic immunity entrenched in international law
Other examples: Pearl Harbour, WWII
o Norms and values can become so entrenched that they don't get violated
International society can change
o Realists don't believe in much change - Thucydides info still important beciouase the
international system still acts the same
November 20
o English school believes change is possible with work
Members of English School
Hedley Bull (1932-1985)
o BOOK: "The Anarchical Society"
o There is an international society
o Issue of methodology
Makes massive effort to defend traditional methodology and argues against
behaviourist methodology
Barry Buzan (b.1946)
o Teaches at London school of economics
o Written on number of topics
o Defines things like security
Realists talk about State and questions of war and peace
Buzan says broaden view and security, talk about things like AIDS and
the environment, etc.
???World government desirable but disagree on what it would look like
o States should maintain their sovereignty even if there is a world government
o States should give up the sovereignty
Critiques of English School
Borrowing so much from realists and liberals, too many of its concepts are also poorly
Lack of a metatheory
o Combining two things makes it difficult to have one theory overall
Focus too much attention on "High Politics"
o High Politics: war, peace, etc
o Low Politics: human rights, trade, etc
Role of History
o Comes from their traditional methodology
o History is key to their theories
o Criticism: members of English school inconsistent in the ways they integrate history into
their theories
Past helps predict future, other members say past helps us understand future,
others say theme running though history