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Political Science
POLI 243
Mark Brawley

MAJOR SYSTEM-LEVEL IR PARADIGMS AND THEORIES: Idealism Core assumptions of Classical Idealism:  Human behaviour can be perfected  There exists a harmony of interests btwn ppl and btwn nations  Therefore, war is never an appropriate way to solve disputes; instead, the underlying harmony of interests should be uncovered and emphasized  If the correct laws and institutions guide behaviour, the good in humans can be evoked (thereby illuminating the harmony of interests btwn ppl and btwn states) CONTEXT: After WW1, world leaders (e.g. Churchill) thought that they could set up internat’l laws to perfect human behaviour and therefore the behaviour of states (e.g. creation of the League of Nations)… they thought that the “right” laws could evoke harmony among states and achieve the normative goal of world peace  Teleological approach  Relies on human rationality and the utility of (internat’l) law Modern idealists: transnat’lists  COMPLEX INTERDEPENDENCE Realism Core assumptions of Classical Realism:  Humans have a will to survive, which makes them selfish (this extends to states)  The will to survive means a will to dominate, the enviro, including other humans  Since this creates competition to dominate, the will to survive creates a search for pwr CONTEXT: The advent of WW2 proved that idealists had been overly optimistic about the ability of scholarship and law to change the world… their methods had failed b/c they set goals and prescribed sol’ns w/o first understanding the enviro that they were working in (e.g. the implications of the Treaty of Versailles)  Diplomacy and history based  WAR IS INEVITABLE – it is the traditional method of conflict resolution  PWR IS ALL-IMPORTANT IN IR  The behaviour of states is continuous in nature, esp their willingness to use pwr to resolve inter-state diffs  Emerged dominant w/ WW2 – morality played no role in IR (e.g. Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union under Stalin), and the West had to match this aggressiveness in order to survive PROBLEMS:  How can realism explain change or specific acts (of humans or states)?  Behaviouralists vs. traditionalists: traditionalists emphasized history and the study of historical episodes as unique events in research, while behaviouralists emphasized the need to aggregate info for data analysis and interpretation of evidence ALL REALIST THEORIES STRESS THE SOVEREIGNTY OF STATES – means states are the most important actors in IR and must solve disputes amongst themselves using PWR **W/ RESPECT TO INTERNAT’L REGIMES: Realists see internat’l regimes as expressions of pwr/as means to an end  Those actors who are “in pwr” (economically booming) dictate the terms of such regimes  Realists espouse HEGEMONIC STABILITY THEORY to explain the emergence and evolution of regimes (regimes are stable when there is an internat’l concentration of pwr)… this explained the collapse of Bretton-Woods in the 1970s, but not the evolution of GATT into the WTO in the 1980s Core assumptions of Structural Realism:  States are the most important actors in internat’l relations (but they are not the only actors)  States are unitary, rational actors  The internat’l system is anarchic  States, in order to protect their own interests in this enviro, will seek to maximize their pwr WALTZ: The Cold War required realism to evolve if it was to remain relevant  Particularities of a situation influence state behaviour… CONTEXT is all- important  Change of structure (system in which states operate = ordering principle + diff of parts + distribution of capabilities)  change in state interactions  new outcome  Human nature doesn’t change – we’re looking for variables that cause change (human nature doesn’t fit the bill)  Internat’l system is anarchic  States perform similar functions and are therefore rivals  Some states perform better than others GENERAL:  Distribution of capabilities has changed hugely in modern times  DISTRIBUTION OF PWR is a key variable on the causal side of structural realism (all states must therefore be studied together) PRESENT DAY REALISM: systemic constraints shape the behaviour of states  The SECURITY DILEMMA: one state’s attempt to enhance its security (e.g. dvlping nuclear capabilities) threatens other states, who respond in kind  chain reaction!  All states ultimately remain insecure Core assumptions of Neorealism:  States are the most important actors in IR (but not the only actors)  States are unitary, rational actors  The internat’l system is anarchic  States will seek the maximize their utility PROBLEMS W/ REALISM: When a group of states see themselves bound by a common set of rules governing their relations, an internat’l system exists  community + interaction (as opposed to Waltz’s idea of pure rivalry in an anarchic context) REALISM’S GREATEST FAILURE: It failed to predict the end of the Cold War Marxism CONTEXT: Reaction to the inequality that was a byproduct of liberal poli and econ policies (mainly a CRITIQUE OF LIBERALISM) Prebisch (working post-WW2): Internat’l econ based on liberal markets tended to leave econ dvlping countries further and further behind industrialized countries… he advocated greater mgmt of econ affairs as corrective to workings of the market MARX extended DEPENDENCY THEORY  Liberal markets were exploitative  Dvlping econs should w/draw from them  Poli challenges to capitalist internat’l econ were necessary – dvlping econs began to do this through the UN States may claim to perform the same functions, but in the internat’l econ, there is actually a great degree of specialization and therefore of differentiation  Diff states provide diff goods and services to the internat’l econ  Whenever trade takes place, there is a division of labour  creation of CLASSES in the domestic econ (this can be extended to creation of classes of states on the internat’l level)  Classes are organized hierarchically and perform differentiated functions… the system is NOT ANARCHIC  Marxism is “stuck” in the 1800s b/c the socialist revolution didn’t happen and the internat’l econ got back on its feet… SOCIAL WELFARE was a big reason that the predicted revolution didn’t happen (relief of pressure from the bottom to alleviate suffering and suppress class consciousness) Core assumptions of Classical Marxism:  Social classes are the most important actors in politics  Classes act in their own material interest  The expropriation of surplus val is exploitation Classical Marxism is intended as a model of DOMESTIC poli econ (not meant to explain the beahviour of states)… INSTRUMENTAL and STRUCTURAL MARXISM are the Marxist theories of IR Core assumptions of Instrumental Marxism (Leninism):  Social classes are the most important actors in politics  Classes act in their own material interest  The expropriation of surplus val is exploitation  States act in the interest of their nat’l capital class PROBLEM: States did (eventually) begin to dvlp and execute policies incompatible w/ interests of their capitalist classes (e.g. welfare policies) Core assumptions of Structural Marxism:  Social classes are the most important actors in politics  Classes act in their own material interest  The expropriation of surplus val is exploitation  States act to maintain capitalism, even if such actions are inconsistent w/ the interests of their nat’l capitalist class in the short-run FOCUS: Assumed states acted to protect capitalism itself… emphasized how states acted politically to maintain overall poli econ structure of capitalism Core assumptions of Modern World-Systems Analysis:  The world is a structural whole, and is the appropriate unit of analysis  The various parts of the system are functionally related, via the internat’l division of labour  States and markets are the products of underlying social (i.e. class) dynamics FOCUS: Analyzes coaction of internat’l poli and internat’l econ systems in the modern capitalist era  Derived from Marxism  Maintains focus on social classes as actors, but perhaps stresses the role of states even more  Rooted in history and
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