Lecture 03 - POLA84

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Political Science
Waldemar Skrobacki

Lecture 03 POLA84H3 Outline I Theories of Global Politics A Liberalism B RealismC RadicalismD Alternative TheoriesII Social Scientific Study of Global Politics A Comparisons B GeneralizationsIII Theory and EvidenceA Hypotheses and AssumptionsB Specifying and Testing HypothesesIV The Study and Practice of Global Politics A The Question of Policy RelevanceB The Question of Values1 Empirical Theory2 Normative TheorySummary I Theories about Global Politics By the end of World War II three general perspectives on Global Politics had emerged liberalism realism and radicalism The perspectives lead their proponents to ask different questions and they stress different levels of analysis in their explanations Nevertheless they often lead to contrasting explanations or predictions that can be tested and found to be more or less correct The book aims to contrast explanations or predictions derived from the three perspectives A Liberalism Liberals highlight representative forms of government and respect for individual rights and hope that the spread of democracy would lead to peaceful relations among states Liberalism emphasizes the benefits of collective security and rule of international law which limits countries actions Liberalism maintains faith in human progress and social harmonysociety of states Liberalism argues that ideas norms and rules as well as power and interests determine international outcomesB Realism Realists are more skeptical and believe that people are selfinterested often selfish and seek to dominate others They consider nationstates the most important actors in Global Politics in a selfhelp system where there is no higher world authority to guarantee national security Realism is an approach to the study and practice of international politics It emphasizes the role of the nationstate and makes a broad assumption that all nation states are motivated by national interests or at best national interests disguised as moral concerns Realism is school of thought that explains International Relations in terms of power This school has a long history of development and widespread geographical proponents including Sun Tzu from China Thucydides from Greece and Machiavelli from Italy The underlying assumptions of realism are that human nature is essentially selfish that states are the most important actors that states act like rational individuals in pursuing national interests and that states act in an anarchic international system with no central government1C Radicalism The radical viewpoint stems from Marxist thought Along with realists radicals believe that people are motivated by selfinterest and are ready to dominate others but they concentrate primarily on economic relations Radicals consider states to be important actors but they also emphasize the conflicting interests of social classes D Alternative Theories The three views liberalism realism radicalism form Global Politics dominant paradigms but they have been challenged in various ways by new perspectives like critical theory feminism and social constructivism These new perspectives do more than challenge the typical explanations of Global Politics offered by realism liberalism and radicalism to describe what states and other international actors do and why they do it They often reject the modes of theorizing and research that have become so commonly accepted in universities research institutes and policy circlesthat is the fields dominant epistemologies Critical postmodern and some feminist theories explore the implications of asking some questions and not others of gathering some types of evidence and not others and of evaluating that evidence in some ways and not others In examining such previously unexamined issues they hope to shed new light on the incompletenessor worse the bias of our current understanding of Global Politics 1 Social Constructivism Constructivists recognize many of the same patterns and practices in Global Politics as do realists liberals and radicals but they are wary of the tendency of mainstream perspectives to objectify these patterns and practices Constructivists suggest that we need to recognize that established diplomatic
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