Textbook Notes (363,103)
Canada (158,195)
POLI 243 (69)
Chapter 1

POLI 243 - Ch. 1 : Institutionalism and Constructivism.doc

3 Pages
Unlock Document

McGill University
Political Science
POLI 243
Mark Brawley

Ch. 1 – Institutionalism and Constructivism Lecture on: Jan. 16 Institutionalism was inspired by IPE scholars' work on international regimes (“a set of prescriptions and proscriptions for state behaviour”). Realists explained institutions as an outcome of an exercise of power—that is, exercised by a hegemonic power for its own benefit—and that once power was decentralized, institutions would collapse or weaken. However, even as the US declined relative to Western Europe and Japan in the 1980s, international regimes remained. Core Assumptions of Rationalist Institutionalism 1) Actors are self-interested, rational utility maximizers 2) International regimes can facilitate the making of agreements by actors 3) Actors are interested in the pursuit of goals which are not always zero- sum in nature Keokane drew on literature on domestic institutions, arguing that institutions providing benefits to its members would remain even absent a hegemon. This is because the participants themselves will have an interest in maintaining the institution. Thus, rationalist institutionalism explains institutions by viewing them as mechanisms for actors. Art Stein saw two sorts of problems: dilemmas of common interest (Prisoner's Dilemma) and dilemmas of common aversion (Chicken). Institutions matter because, no matter which dilemma is present, they can help actors achieve their jointly preferred outcomes. There is also a second 'reflective' or 'sociological' approach to institutionalism. This approach emphasizes subjectivity and the embeddedness of existing international institutions and regimes. Structural realists assume too much to be established and fixed; rationality is always contextual. Existing institutions and norms shape the ways in which preferences— including the desire for power itself—are defined. Reflectivist approaches stress that regimes are rarely the product of purely rational design. In reality, they emerge gradually, often in a convoluted and irrational manner. This also means that utility maximization is not so clear- cut when creating institutions. Keokane noted that power is relative; when one state has more, another has less, meaning that power exchanges are zero-sum; that is, the sum of the changes is zero. However, other factors, such as material goods, can be measured and quantified in an absolute rather than negative manner; thus, trade in
More Less

Related notes for POLI 243

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.