POLB80 Oct. 9.docx

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Political Science
Matthew Hoffmann

POLB80 Oct.9 Midterm Review up, Critical Theories article, not on exam MARXISM Is it still around? 1. Marxism as a governing philosophy Communism; parties/govts; a way to govern a country 2. Philosophy of history – teleological history (progressing to a specific end point; economic systems) – from Agrarian, to industrial, to post industrial, to socialist utopia 3. Model of political – IR  More historical than realism (Greeks), neoliberalism (Renaissance), which are old but ahistoric (same dynamics apply to Greek city states, as to contemporary war)  Marxism takes time and history into account (though only been around since Marx 1800), history plays a fundamental role Answer to almost all questions about constructivism is: it depends! Constructivism: actors   context Actors are always socially motivated and that happen regardless of time, but context is historical - has an ahistoric understanding of social construction, but relationships that develop through it is only understood by understanding the history Marxism stresses the importance of unfolding of history and the means of production in the evolution of the theory Means of production – the way we make things and create wealth Who owns and controls these means? That shapes history and shapes the political relationships we will see in IR Classical Marxism vs. Neo Marxism Classical concerned with evolution through stages of history (evolution of means and ownership of means, teleological) “march towards social utopia” Discredited when capitalism took over Marxism, history cant be written as linear and repetitive Neo Marxism still holds the relationship between means, who controls them and politics being shaped by such.. but they drop the historical aspect of it Was USSR true Marxist/ communist nation? - they had dictatorship - they industrialized through communism, moved straight from agrarian nation to communist nation In China, you’ve got a split between political nation (communism) and economic nation (capitalist) Marxism’s Answers to the 4 questions Actors: Classes (proletariat, bourgeois, capitalist elites) MNCs Similarity of economic situation, trumps same nationality/different class  class based theory States are not as important because they are not entirely autonomous, they are tool of the transnational capitalist class State is coopted into doing what these powerful actors want them to, just a channel, another “means” - economic interest drives state behavior; ex. Cotton Wars Key for Marxism analysis: When does the state lose autonomy? Where you see difference is when you compare the liberal and Marxist analyses: Liberalism: State is an autonomous actor, though economic interests are important to state and they will pursue then State is not considered an actor because capitalism drives society, and not the other way around… though not to say states are not important (they do colonialism, imperialism) but they aren’t important as economic actors Marxism government is a purest example of the state being just a tool… proletariat is working in harmony with upper classes, classless economy State-led capitalism…. Big banks, MNCs What came first, economic interests or state behavior? Marxism has a lot to say about internal and external dynamics Very hard to falsify it, because its hard to identify specific conditions where state is autonomous and pursuing economic interests or where it has been coopted by real actors or reflective class conflict Nature: Economic interest, what class you are in determined identity, interests, and behavior For larger actors,
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