Mid-Term Definitions

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Political Science
Jean- Yves Haine

Good luck all Definitions Nation state: A political community in which the state claims legitimacy on the grounds that it represents the nation. The nation-state would exist if nearly all the members of a single nation were organized in a single state, without any other national communities being present. Although the term is widely used, no such entities exist. Globalization:A historical process involving a fundamental shift or transformation in the spatial scale of human social organization that links distant communities and expands the reach of power relations across regions and continents. It is also something of a catch-all phrase often used to describe a single world-economy after the collapse of communism, though sometimes employed to define the growing integration of the international capitalist system in the post-war period. Anarchy: A system operating in the absence of any central government. Does not imply chaos, but in realist theory the absence of political authority. Asymmetrical globalization: Describes the way in which contemporary globalization is unequally experienced across the world and among different social groups in such a way that it produces a distinctive geography of inclusion in, and exclusion from, the global system. Balance of power: In realist theory, refers to an equilibrium between states; historical realists regard it as the product of diplomacy (contrived balance) whereas structural realists regard the system as having a tendency towards a natural equilibrium (fortuitous balance). It is a doctrine and an arrangement Good luck all whereby the power of one state (or group of states) is checked by the countervailing power of other states. Hegemony: A system regulated by a dominant leader, or political (and/or economic) domination of a region, usually by a superpower. In realist theory, the influence a Great Power is able to establish on other states in the system; extent of influence ranges from leadership to dominance. It is also power and control exercised by a leading state over other states. Identity:The understanding of the self in relationship to an 'other'. Identities are social and thus are always formed in relationship to others. Constructivists generally hold that identities shape interests; we cannot know what we want unless we know who we are. But because identities are social and are produced through interactions, identities can change. Institutions: Persistent and having connected sets of rules and practices that prescribe roles, constrain activity, and shape the expectations of actors. Institutions may include organizations, bureaucratic agencies, treaties and agreements, and informal practices that states accept as binding. The balance of power in the international system is an example of an institution. (Adapted from Haas, Keohane, and Levy 1993: 4-5.) Integration: A process of ever closer union between states, in a regional or international context. The process often begins with cooperation to solve technical problems, referred to by Mitrany (1943) as ramification. Interdependence:A condition where states (or peoples) are affected by decisions taken by others; for example, a decision to raise interest rates in the USA Good luck all automatically exerts upward pressure on interest rates in other states. Interdependence can be symmetric, i.e. both sets of actors are affected equally, or it can be asymmetric, where the impact varies between actors. A condition where the actions of one state impact upon other states (can be strategic interdependence or economic). Realists equate interdependence with vulnerability. Intergovernmental organizations (IGOs): An international organization in which full legal membership is officially solely open to states and the decision-making authority lies with representatives from governments. International Monetary Fund (IMF): An institution of 186 members as of early 2010, providing extensive technical assistance and short-term flows of stabilization finance to any of those members experiencing temporarily distressed public finances. Since 1978 it has undertaken comprehensive surveillance of the economic performance of individual member states as a precursor to introducing 'corrective' programmes for those countries it deems to have followed the wrong policy course. International order: The normative and the institutional pattern in the relationship between states. The elements of this might be thought to include such things as sovereignty, the forms of diplomacy, international law, the role of the great powers, and the codes circumscribing the use of force. Internationalization: This term is used to denote high levels of international interaction and interdependence, most commonly with regard to the world economy. The term is often used to distinguish this condition from globalization, Good luck all as the latter implies that there are no longer distinct national economies in a position to interact. Multipolarity:A distribution of power among a number (at least three) of major powers or 'poles'. National interest: Invoked by realists and state leaders to signify that which is most important to the state- survival being at the top of the list. Cold war:Extended worldwide conflict between communism and capitalism that is normally taken to have begun in 1947 and concluded in 1989 with the collapse of Soviet power in Europe. Unipolarity: A distribution of power internationally in which there is clearly only one dominant power or 'pole'. Some analysts argue that the international system became unipolar in the 1990s since there was no longer any rival to American power. Appeasement: The appeasement policy was the efforts by France and Britain in the 1930s to allow Nazi Germany to have pretty much anything it wanted in the hopes that eventually Hitler would be appeased and cease his aggressive policies. thus they let him build up the German armed forces in contravention of the treaty of Versailles. They let him put German troops in the Rheinland violating the same treaty. They let annex Austria. They let him take the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia. Then they let him take the rest of Czechoslovakia. The affect of the policy was that each time Hitler was allowed to get away with something, far from being appeased, it simply whetted his appetite for more. Finally they realized he would never be appeased and they would have to fight stop him. Good luck all Collective security: Refers to an arrangement where 'each state in the system accepts that the security of one is the concern of all, and agrees to join in a collective response to aggression' (Roberts and Kingsbury 1993: 30). It is also the foundational principle of the League of Nations: namely, that member states would take a threat or attack on one member as an assault on them all (and on international norms more generally). The League would accordingly respond in unison to such violations of international law. Appreciating that such concerted action would ensue, putative violators-the League's framers hoped-would be duly deterred from launching aggressive strikes in the first place. As the 1920s and 1930s showed, however, theory and practice diverged wildly, with League members failing to take concerted action against Japanese imperialism in Asia, and German and Italian expansionism in Europe and Africa. Constructivism:An approach to international politics that concerns itself with the centrality of ideas and human consciousness and stresses a holistic and idealist view of structures. As constructivists have examined world politics they have been broadly interested in how the structure constructs the actors' identities and interests, how their interactions are organized and constrained by that structure, and how their very interaction serves to either reproduce or transform that structure. Decision making procedures: "rational actor" model (usually associated with Realist Theory) The "bureaucratic politics" or "organizational process" model (usually associated with Liberal Internationalist Theory) The "pluralistic model" (usually associated with Liberal Internationalist Theory). Good luck all Neo-realism: Modification of the realist approach, by recognizing economic resources (in addition to military capabilities) are a basis for exercising influence and also an attempt to make realism 'more scientific' by borrowing models from economics and behavioral social science to explain international politics. Non-state actors:A term widely used to mean any actor that is not a government. Norms: Specify general standards of behavior, and identify the rights and obligations of states. So, in the case of the GATT, the basic norm is that tariffs and non-tariff barriers should be reduced and eventually eliminated. Together, norms and principles de
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