[POLS 2250] - Midterm Exam Guide - Comprehensive Notes for the exam (15 pages long!)

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POLS 2250
MIDTERM EXAM
STUDY GUIDE
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Chapter 1 Notes
Approaches to International Relations
International relations- study of interactions among the various actors that participate in
international politics
actors- states, leaders, government bureaucracies, municipalities, for-profit and non-profit
private organizations, international organizations, and individuals
Theories
Realism
states exist in an anarchic international system with no overarching hierarchical authority
state makes policies based on its national interest (in terms of power)
Liberalism
human nature is basically good
states generally cooperate and follow international norms and procedures that they have
agreed upon
Radical Theory
human behavior is determined by economics with the state being an agent of international
capitalism
international system is highly stratified
Constructivists
key structures in the state system are social and dependent on ideas
state interests are not fixed
use discourse analysis to analyze culture, norms, procedure, and social practices
create thick description using multiple sets of data
Postmodernists
want to deconstruct the basic concepts of IR
seek to find the voices of the disenfranchised and marginalized
Tools for Studying International Relations
History
context is necessary to understand today’s key issues
no separate international relations subfield until the early 20th century
used to test generalizations and explain relationships
examines individual or multiple cases
Philosophy
focuses on the state and its leaders
develops rationales from core texts and analytical thinking
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studies normative elements in political life (normative = moral)
Plato came up with two ideas seminal to IR that eventually became the basis of Marxist
analysis
class analysis- economic class is the major divider in politics
dialectical reasoning- reasoning from a dialogue that leads to the discovery of
contradictions in original assertions and political reality
Aristotle- first writer to use the comparative method of analysis
states rise and fall because of internal factors
Thomas Hobbes (The Leviathan)- society exists in a state of anarchy that can only be solved
by a leviathan
leviathan- unitary state where power is centrally and absolutely controlled
Jean-Jacques Rousseau- state of nature as an egocentric world with man’s primary concern
being self preservation
preferred smaller communities where “general will” could be attained
Immanuel Kant- creation of a federation of states as a means to achieve peace
man is selfish but can learn cosmopolitanism and universalism
Behavioralism
man tends to act in predictable ways
uses the scientific method to describe and explain human behavior with the goal of
explaining patterns and predicting future behavior
ex. Correlates of War project
Problems: different data may lead to different conclusions, researchers focus on data and
methods over foundational questions
Difference in findings can be explained by differences in operationalization, issues,
periods, and availability of data
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