POLI 100 Final Exam Notes
Chapter 14: Sovereignty, the State and International Order
State- a formally constituted, sovereign political structure made up of people, territory
and institution (PTI).
-Early “states”: political communities recognized as “states” formed around land
and the Neolithic revolution, necessary to organize people/resources and protect them.
State/International Systems- constantly in flux, never permanent.
Civilizations and Empires- Comes in various forms. Large scale political systems made
up of smaller political groups under a central power. Characterized by explicit relations of
dominance and subordination. Earlies empires found in regions around Tigris, Euphrates,
and Nile rivers, indicating significant role agriculture played in early civilization.
• Ancient Greece: Organized in a system of city-states (polis), withAthens, the
capital, as the model of a democratic city.Aristotle says “man is by nature a
political man,” Thucydides often seen as a key figure of realism.
• Roman Empire: Central to development of republicanism, gives origin to main
legal systems and predominance of Christianity, in Europe.
• Chinese Empire (18 BC- early 20AD): Interrupted by period of warring states, a
time which allows for development of Confucianism- concerned with proper
political/social arrangements for good order.
-Modern empires: France, Spain, Portugal, Holland, Denmark, Belgium, Italy,
Russia and Germany. However British Empire is by far the most influential empire.
The reach of the British empire spreads British culture, political norms (ex. English’s
predominance as international language). However post-WWII power shifted from
the British to theAmericans.
-Cultural transmission goes both ways and imperialism can be seen as allowing
for the rise of globalization, in turn allowing for the rise MNCs, which are arguably
becoming empires themselves.
International relations- emerges post-WWI, with an initial focus on causes of war and
conditions of peace (preventing another “Great War”), as well as relations between
sovereign states (Westphalian model?). “World politics” is now replacing “international
relations”, narrowing the concept.
-Has since broadened to include political, social and economical factors. Also,
non-state actors (NGOs, MNCs, organized crime/terrorist groups).
Global- typically refers to whole world, tends to erase boundaries between states, instead
emphasizing interconnectedness (ex. Climate change is a global concern, which must be
dealt with by all countries).
-This allows for a larger sense of community hinting at cosmopolitanism.
-The movement towards globalization can be seen as a rise in the importance of
the global political thought.
Nation- a collective identity that is grounded in a shared history and culture and may or
may not lay claim to some kind of political recognition as well as a specific territory.
Empire (redefined): a nation-state that dominates other nation-states and exhibits one or
more of the following characteristics:
1. Exploits resources from the lands it dominates 2. Consumes disproportionate amounts of resources relative to its population.
3. Maintains a large military that enforces its policies when subtle measures
4. Spreads various aspects of culture (language, art, literature, etc) through
its sphere of influence.
5. Taxes not just its own citizens, but also people of other countries.
6. Imposes its own currency on the land under its control.
Modernity- basically moving from the Medieval time of retarded Church=Science
thinking, into a more realistic, intelligible time. Emerges in Europe around 1500, in
correlation with a rise in science and technology, in turn allowing for industrialization,
increased military power and other social change.
-Europe was lagging behind other civilizations, such as the Chinese and Islamic
civilizations. However this allowed Europe to import readily available information,
speeding the Modernity movement forward.
-Europe was also highly fragmented except for the Roman Catholic Church,
which was then fragmented by the Protestant Reformation (1519), leading to 100+ years
Treaty of Westphalia (1648): more or less concludes religious wars since 1519.
-Establishes key characteristics of state and modern state system and includes the
principle of religious co-existence, the state’s claim to sole authority (sovereignty) in
matters such as the declaration of war and the negotiation of peace, diplomatic
representation, and the authority to make treaties with foreign powers.
Sovereignty- supposed to guarantee the state against external intervention in domestic
affairs, which is nice in principle but unrealistic. The EU is an example of a necessary
move away from sovereignty.
-The right to humanitarian intervention trumps sovereignty
-Systems of sovereign states tend to generate conditions of anarchy, since the
mere existence of a ruler violates the notion of sovereignty.
-The three characteristics of the modern state: sovereignty, territoriality,
Concert of Europe-established post-Napoleonic wars, established in 1815, agreeing that
European powers should meet regularly to discuss diplomatic issues. New states emerge,
ex. Greece, Germany, Serbia, etc.
Globalization of sovereign state system- as the colonial system collapsed at the end of
WWII, decolonized populations began using their colonial borders to attempt to build
nations. They participated in the international state system and adopted the European
model. These events yielded a variety of weak, quasi, and failing/failed states:
1. Weak states- lack capacity to organize, regulate and deliver political and
economic goods to their citizens
2. Quasi states- (R. Jackson 1990) are developing states dependant on foreign
aid, harming their sovereignty.
3. Failed states- weak states that have reached a point of breakdown- social
unrest and violence.
Chapter 15: Traditional Theories of IR Liberalism and rise of IR: WWI introduces the idea of “total war”- the militarization of
a state’s resources to their fullest capacities, all with the intention of annihilating the
enemy. Total wars create demand for total peace. Woodrow Wilson (1913-’21 president)
uses a liberal ideology to create post-war order.
-Hugo Grotius (1583-1645): humans are naturally peaceful, the international
sphere is sociable.
-Samuel Pufendorf (1632-1694): natural law theorist, emphasized universal
-Immanuel Kant (1795ish): Perpetual Peace proposes a set of principles for a law
of nations. Founds federation of free states, called “League for Nations”. He argues that it
is too costly to a republic’s trade relations to go to war.
-Thus, liberalism in IR operates on an optimistic view of human nature that sees
humans as rational, and self-regarding, who progress over time towards a better state of
existence through the actions of individuals.
Treaty of Versailles (1919)- Establishes League of Nations, which is a disaster because
of conflicting ideologies. Also expects Germany to pay an unreasonable amount in
reparations, which they only finished repaying in 2010.
1. Right of states to freely determine their own policies and practices
2. Right of states to determine their own government
3. The quest of a nationalist group to secure political autonomy.
-These originally applied only to Europe, then to S.America, then globally after
1945. Realism came to challenge the liberalism dominated field of IR after WWII
Realism and IR: WWII sets liberalist IR back quite far, as the ideology is supposed to
prevent total war, as it is against human nature. Realism instead emphasizes the way
things are, not the way things ought to be.Also emphasizes the struggle for power in
anarchic conditions. Formally emerged in 1930, but earlier roots can be seen:
-Thucydides- weak consent what they must, powerful extract what they want.
Therefore, the international arena is amoral, not immoral.
-Niccolo Machiavelli (1467-1527): all actions are to be judged against the
stability of the state
-Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679): states exist in a state of nature, which is a “war of
all against all” with regard to each other.
-E.H. Carr (1892-1982): Considered to be the founder of “classical realism”,
argued for primacy of power over ethics, “might=right”
Carr’s Central Dyad of International Relations
Free will Determinism
Theory “ought” Practice “is”
Left (progressive) Right (conservative)
-Carr says both must be considered, as utopianism on its own is useless but
realism on its own results only in a struggle for power.
-Hans Morgenthau, Politics Among Nations(1944), is pessimistic about human
nature and believes politics trumps morality most of the time. -The international sphere does not have its own sovereignty to take advantage of,
it does have other tools, such as the balance of power, deterrence and sociability- anti-
social behaviours by one nation-state can harm its personal interests (ex. North Korea).
Behaviorialism vs Normative analysis: Behavioralism arises in regard to IR post
WWII, especially in the US. It rejects legal, historical and comparative studies in favour
of quantifiable data, relying on the scientific method to produce objective knowledge
(similar to positivism, which presupposes a neutral, eternally true knowledge of politics
and IR. Normative analysis is concerned with norms, values and ethics. It does not claim
to be scientific, challenging positivism and its claim of objectivity, noting the role a
scientist’s bias can play. Some normative analysts claim that all knowledge is a matter of
English School and the International Society Idea: English scholars who argued that
IR theory was underdeveloped, and IR was itself a “society of states” . Rejects scientific
approaches (ex. US) in favour of historical/normative ones.
-Hedley Bull, the Anarchical Society (1977)- a society of states can be formed
through their co-operation and pursuit of common interests and values. Bull went on to
adopt a pluralist stance
-However within the school there was debates regarding how feasible it was to
develop a core set of norms. Could Eurocentric norms be exported? Some, like Bull,
adopted a pluralist stance, while others adopted a more solidarist approach, which implies
a broader commitment to the solidarity of human beings (similar to cosmopolitanism)
-Revitalized post-9/11, as its concern with international order and justice involves
state sovereignty, global human rights culture, and humanitarian intervention.
Neorealism: (structural realism) emphasizes the structure of the international system
instead of domestic politics.
-Kenneth Waltz Theory of International Politics (’79), aimed for a more scientific
theory of IR to generate testable hypotheses, emphasizing the international system as
determining state behaviour.
-Offensive realism- state constantly maximizes relative power (Mearshimer
argues for this), defensive realism- the gathering of too much power by a state generates
the security dilemma (Waltz argues for this).
Neoliberalism: argues for free market economy, sees various non-state actors as having a
significant role in international society. Security must be expanded to include not only
military, but economic factors as well. The international system can be seen as
characterized by complex interdependence.
The Security dilemma: Mearshimer- great powers are trapped in an iron cage where
they must compete for power to survive.An action taken by the state to secure itself
provokes other states, thereby leaving the first state feeling less secure (think arms races)
Relative vs absolute gains: J. Grieco (’88): liberals generally satisfied with absolute
gains (comparing gains to prior capacity) whereas realists seek both absolute and relative
gains (where gains are measured against the capacity of others).
Chapter 16:AlternativeApproaches to International Relations
Marxism- neither Marx or Engels wrote on IR, but were very influential on others.
“False consciousness” similar to hegemony is spread globally by imperialism, misleading
the working class and allowing for the exploitation of labour which is at the heart of the
global economy. -Western Marxism vs authoritarianism Marxism: Lenin/Stalin/Mao develop
Marxist ideas into “scientific socialism” which was exported to developing countries
-Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924): imperialism is the highest and final stage of
capitalism, can be seen in the widening wealth gap between nations, by wars over land
and resources. Universal class structure sets the stage for global class war.
-Marx predicts fall of the capitalist system once cheap, exploitable labour
depletes. We can see the proletariat taking their own initiative before this happens in the
Dependency Theory: (Andrew G. Frank) explains underdevelopment in poor countries
as a result of Western exploitation rather than local cultural factors. Independence is
impeded because of the exploitative relations created by colonialism, ex. core-periphery
World Systems Theory: (Immanuel Wallerstein) broadens dependency theory,
questioning the assumption that the international system should be based on a nation-state
model. Critiques social science’s narrow views of “development”
Critical Theory: criticizes traditional approaches (liberalism, realism, conservatism),
founded from Marxist thought. Often addresses the effects of capitalism on social life,
emphasizing emancipation from social/material conditions that are oppressive.
Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937): ruling classes maintain power by making inequalities
seem natural (hegemony), so that the masses come to agree to their own oppression.
Robert Cox: argues that realism is an ideology of the status quo which supports the
existing order, and that there is no natural order immune to change. CT offers
alternatives, ex Linklater and Habermas, and directly challenges the assumptions of
neorealism through emphasis on constructed nature of social reality.
Constructivism: argues that social order (beliefs, norms, values, etc) is an ongoing
human production. That order is a product of human activity which happens through
institutions, by habitualization through social practices.
-Alexander Wendt: Anarchy is What States Make of It- challenges neoliberalism
and neorealist assumptions about the state system and anarchy as given. The way we
think about the world alters the way we act in the world.
-Humans shape the world, which in turn shapes them- institutions (markets,
governments, states, etc) have no existence or meaning except in the minds of those who
believe in them.
-Rationalist theories: human behaviour has an underlying rationality that leads
human behaviour towards particular ends. Knowledge then is obtained through empirical
-Reflectivist theories: (aka post-positivist/interpretive) rejects this. That’s it.
Feminism and Gender Theory: Emerges in 60’s/70’s, comes to focus in late 80’s.
contains many ideologies within itself, ex liberal, socialist, critical, etc.Addresses issues
of patriarchy and the role of women in IR, noting tendency of traditional approaches to
-Considers war to be an exclusively male phenomenon, questions whether or not
women are “secured” by the state in peace and war.Also questions how gender roles are
constructed, and how they can be used to proliferate war (ex. Real men fight in the war!)
-Feminist Typology I 1. Empirical feminism - focuses on correcting the misrepresentation of women as
active agents in the international sphere based on mistaken assumptions
2. Analytical feminism – highlights the asymmetrical and socially constructed
concepts of masculinity and femininity evident in traditional theoretical
frameworks in IR that favour masculine interpretative practices
3. Normative feminism - incorporates reflection on IR theorizing and feminist
concerns within a broader, explicitly normative agenda for global change
-Feminist Typology II
1. Liberal feminism highlights the subordination of women in world politics but does
not challenge the premises of traditional IR
2. Critical feminism builds on Critical Theory, examining relations of domination
and subordination, the play of power in world politics, and the relationship
between material and ideational factors through a gender-sensitive lens
3. Feminist constructivism often focuses attention on ideational forces and the
essentially social nature of the international sphere
4. Feminist poststructuralism critiques the way dichotomies such as strong/weak,
rational/emotional, and pub