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PSCI 1200- Midterm Exam Guide - Comprehensive Notes for the exam ( 15 pages long!)


Department
Political Science
Course Code
PSCI 1200
Professor
Randall Germain
Study Guide
Midterm

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Carleton
PSCI 1200
MIDTERM EXAM
STUDY GUIDE

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WEEK 2
LEVELS OF ANALYSIS
Level of analysis 1 (System level):
-Focus: The units of analysis that compose the international system, and the structure of
the international system in which the units of analysis are arranged
-What are the units of analysis: Global actors (states and non-state actors)
-Note: Units of analysis are understood as unitary and rational actors (in
the sense that all actors will purse their interests in a logical way
regardless of their internal composition (e.g., minimize costs and
maximize benefits))
-Example: US and USSR
-What is the structure: Anarchy
-Assumption: Structure of the system (independent variable) affects the behavior of the
units (dependent variable)
-Note: Systemic analyses usually direct us to the possibility of conflict or cooperation at
the international level
-E.g., Game theory
Level of analysis 2 (Domestic):
-Focus: Internal dynamics and aspects of second-order global actors (state and non-
state)
-Example: Political culture
-Assumption: Internal dynamics and aspects influence the behavior of global actors, as
well as their relations
-Example: Foreign policies of the United States versus those of North Korea
-Note: A focus on the internal aspects/dynamics of global actors is different from
systemic analyses, which treat actors as like units
-Note on note: This does not mean that domestic analyses discard the idea or
rationality, just that that a layer is added to understanding this behavior
Level of analysis 3 (Individual):
-Focus: Individuals within global actors (state and non-state)
-Assumption: Individuals can have a major impact on the behavior of global actors
-Example: Trump and the Trudeau cabinet shuffle
Note: Not all IR theories would agree that individuals matter
How do realists understand international anarchy? A zero-sum environment in which
states rationally pursue their self-interests (think relative gains). Because anarchy is a zero-sum
environment, conflict is the most likely outcome in the long-term (short-term cooperation is
acknowledged).
-Example: Security Dilemma
What are the core assumptions of realism?
-Statism: States are the most important actors; especially, great power states (e.g., the
United States, China)
-Survival: The primary interest of all states under anarchy is their own survival through
the pursuit of security/power
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-Self-Help: Under anarchy a state can only trust itself
-See: Dunne and Schmidt, Chapter 6 in The Globalization of World Politics (6th ed),
2013.
How do realists account for order in anarchy? A condition generated through the maintenance
of the balance of power of power, sometimes through violent conflict
-Example: WWII
How do liberals understand international anarchy? A variable-sum environment in which
states and non-state actors rationally pursue their own self-interests (think absolute gains).
Because anarchy is variable-sum, cooperation is the most likely outcome in the long-term (the
risk of conflict is acknowledged).
What are the core assumptions of liberalism?
-Democratic governments: Democratic governments represent the people, who are
usually adverse to violent conflict (the view od the people and the state’s more general
political culture are reflected in its foreign policy)
-Economic integration: Through economic integration international actors reap the
benefits of the free market, and in so doing the costs of conflict rise
-Institutions (established practices and organizations): Institutions establish a common
foundation diplomacy and multilateralism
How do liberals account for order in anarchy? A condition generated through political agenda-
setting and programs of action
-Example: Kant’s Perpetual Peace
How do constructivists understand international anarchy? A socially-malleable environment
conditioned by the beliefs, identities, expectations and values of state and non-state actors.
Prospects for conflict and cooperation are contingent upon the social construction of anarchy
itself.
-Note: Rationality does not fall by the wayside, it becomes ‘bounded’
What are the core assumptions of constructivism?
-Social construction: The social content of the international system (e.g., institutions,
norms, values) is socially constructed by state and non-state actors within it (the reverse
is also true); these actors also play a key role in constructing each other’s identities (and
their consequences).
-Example: United States vs. North Korea
How do constructivists account for order in anarchy? “Anarchy is what states make of it”
- Wendt, 1992
WEEK 6
END OF THE COLD WAR
Theories for the post-Cold War period 1 (Fukuyama):
-Francis Fukuyama argues that the end of the Cold War marks “the end of history”
because it initiates the globalization of the ‘highest’ form of government to which we
are all destined, democracy (a linear view of history)
-Example: The Gulf War (1991) represents the coming together of many
different countries with a common purpose … freedom
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