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class 5 lecture notes polb80.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Political Science
G Cupchik

Lecture 5 (recorded) Continuation of Class 4 Slides Oct 9/12 MARXISM IS IT STILL AROUND? Not a simple question Marxism has a number of different instantiations Exists in multiple aspects: 1. Marxism as a governing philosophy (communism) a. Marxism was the governing philosophy of the Soviet Union b. At least in name, Marxism is the governing philosophy of China, Cuba, North Korea c. There are still Marxist parties in many countries that want to embody Marxists principles in governing structures d. Marxism as a governing philosophy was widely discredited by the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Soviet Union but that does not mean it has gone away, but it is less prominent than it used to be 2. Philosophy of History (about how history unfolds) teleological philosophy of history (teleological means towards a specific end point) a. Marxists see history as progressing towards an inevitable end b. Weve developed through stages of history (for example; we developed through agrarian economies to industrial economies, to post-industrial economies to the socialist utopia) 3. Model of Politics International Relations a. Marxism helps us understand world politics from a very different perspective than realism, liberalism, and constructivism CLASSICAL VS. NEO-MARXISM Classical Marxism Historical Orientation of Marxism versus that of Liberalism, Realism, and Constructivism o One of the keys to classical Marxism is the historical orientation and its underlying philosophy of history o Much more historical theory than realism and liberalism Marxism takes time and history into account whereas realism and liberalism consider that the global dynamics of world politics are timeless While realism and liberalism are old theories, they are NOT historical theories The reason for this being that when youre talking about security dilemma for realists looks the same whether youre talking about Greek city states interacting 2500 years ago or the Soviet Union and the US interacting in the Cold War it is ahistorical Similarly with liberals they think that interdependence is going to look similarly in 1998 than it does in 1658, it is ahistorical o History plays a historical role in Marxism o Because Marxists see history unfolding in particular stages, the relationships that you see at any particular time depend on where we are in history For example, if we have a bunch of agrarian states (states whose economies depend on agriculture) interacting, its going to look very different than a bunch of capitalist states or industrial states interacting o Marx saw history as unfolding patterns where realists and liberalists see history as just a bunch of things happening over and over again over time o History is just full of events that have similar causes for realists and liberals but for Marxists history is part of the explanation for whats going on in worldLecture 5 (recorded) Continuation of Class 4 Slides Oct 9/12 politics (things arent the same today as they were 100 years ago because of the way history marches on) o Constructivism on the other says that international relations are shaped by context and context can be historical so constructivism can be considered a historical theory BUT IT DEPENDS Actors create their context and that context shapes who actors are and what they want and how they behave process of feedback between actors and context and this for constructivists is AHISTORICAL, they believe that this happens in all social systems anywhere at all times How this process plays our is historical but this is the difference between what you use constructivism to analyze versus what constructivism itself is a theory of Constructivists would say that this process happens everywhere at all times; what that context is and who those actors are you can only understand that by looking the development of history within a particular set of relations Where liberalism and realism are entirely ahistorical, and Marxism is entirely historical in that history is one of the variables for how understand world politics, constructivism is somewhere in between, it has an ahistorical understanding of social life This notion of social construction through feedback happens always anywhere but you have to understand the history of the relationships that developed through it to be able to understand
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