POLB80H3 Lecture Notes - Discourse Analysis, Democracy Promotion, Unequal Exchange

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Published on 10 Jul 2012
School
UTSC
Department
Political Science
Course
POLB80H3
POLB80
November 4, 2010
Review
End of cold War
New Challenges Post CW
- Globalization, universal values, new “global” vulnerabilities, etc.
o Critical eye on “Globalization” > States proliferate, resistance to R2P
In search of an explanation:
- Constructivist analysis
New Paradigms/Explanations
1. Identity…constructivism
2. Identiity based analysis
3. Culture (religion)
Identity
Constructivism
Social theory of international relations
- Identity
o Interpretation of interest
Influences
o Representation of interests
policies
- Discourse analysis
o Discourse as structure
o Discourse as power
Rational determination of threats (structural realism)
- “Interests” dominant factor in analysis of state (Realism)
Problem:
- Threats are not objective exogenous objects or phenomena
- Threats are result of interpretation
o Ex: nukes become a threat only when so perceived
o Interests are the product of interpretation
Critical social [critical] constructivism understands interests as constructed in relation to (internal
factors) identity
3 Key elements of critical constructivism:
‘Reality’ is socially constructed
Constructions entail naturalized power relations
Naturalized power relations need to be un-naturalized
The world is constituted through meaningful practices
People, like states, act on the basis of meanings that things have for them
- There is no universal or objective truth
Meaning is a social phenomenon (inter-subjective)
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- For ex. “terrorist” is not an objective term; a terrorist is “discursively” constructed as such. To
British, George Washington was a terrorist so it is subjective
- IRA was terrorists to UK, patriotic nationalist to some Irish. (was in control by Britain)
Discourses as power:
Define and produce or constitute the world;
- Ex. “Iraqi insurgents” are Islamic fanatics
- V “Arab militants” as rational beings pursuing “tactics”
Some discourses are very powerful;
- Certain elites, or powerful institutional actors, play privileged roles in the (re) production of
discursive constructions.
- Ex: State Foreign Policies Dominant relations remain dominant because of the power
structures maintaining them
Discourse on “identity”
- Analysing identity in foreign policy requires undermining the idea that the nation state is a
objective natural phenomenon
- There is no “unitary identity”
- Open-up the black boxthe State
- There are many identities within State
o Which one comes to dominate?
o Why and How?
2. Identity based analysis
Example: US foreign policy in 3 periods
- Cold War
- Post Cold War
- Post 9-11
great transparency in U.S.
Ex1: US foreign policy & Cold War Identity
Narrative 1: Containment discourse (geopolitical struggle)
- “Free World”(perceived universal value) vs. Communism (totalitarian; bad value)
- The U.S. is in opposition to an “aggressor” vs. bad states; just as in WWII
o Called them the ‘evil empire’
- US is never an aggressor itself;
- US actions are noble
Alternative
Narrative 2: US as Empire;
- Neo-imperial relations with rest of the world (i.e. no direct control),
- Unequal exchange
How does Narrative 1 dominate Narrative 2?
Key question:
Ex2 US Identity Post-Cold War (1991 onward)
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Document Summary

Globalization, universal values, new global vulnerabilities, etc: critical eye on globalization > states proliferate, resistance to r2p. Discourse analysis: discourse as structure, discourse as power. Interests dominant factor in analysis of state (realism) Threats are not objective exogenous objects or phenomena. Threats are result of interpretation: ex: nukes become a threat only when so perceived. Critical social [critical] constructivism understands interests as constructed in relation to (internal factors) identity. Naturalized power relations need to be un-naturalized. People, like states, act on the basis of meanings that things have for them. Terrorist is not an objective term; a terrorist is discursively constructed as such. British, george washington was a terrorist so it is subjective. Ira was terrorists to uk, patriotic nationalist to some irish. (was in control by britain) V arab militants as rational beings pursuing tactics . Certain elites, or powerful institutional actors, play privileged roles in the (re) production of discursive constructions.

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