Critical Approaches to Understanding International Relations

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Bishop's University
Political Studies
POL 140
Dr.Heather Mc Keen- Edwards

International Relations Critical TheoriesCritical Theoriestheory is always for someone and for some purposeRobert Cox o Reflection of viewpoints perspectives and interpretationsDoesnt view the social system as a given political economic social etc o Questions the power and politics behind what we tend to leave unquestionedwhich is assumed natural they question what Liberalists and Realists sayThis category of theories is the most diverse of the three MARXIST THEORIESDevelops from the work of Karl Marx 18181883Marx didnt focus on the international directly but his work has been developed at this level by othersHis ideas have been taken by IR and reapplied at the international levelAssumes the economic system drives politicsOpposite of realismBasics o History has evolved through different modes of productionFEUDALISMCAPITALISMSOCIALISMCOMMUNISM o Most of the world is capitalistic o Each mode of production is the economic base of its society o Economic base influences the political system social system culture etc superstructureCapitalist Mode of Production o IndustrializationChanges the leadership of the landFostering technological change o Private ownership of productionPursuit of profit o Is an inherently unstable systemcontains the seed of its own demiseRevolution will be the demise o Wealth becomes increasingly centralized in a small number of eliteEventually the workers will rise up and the revolution will come
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