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POLS 2940 (30)


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York University
Political Science
POLS 2940
Sandra Withworth

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS – 3  CDN EDITION  RD SAHAR O Introduction 1: The Study of IR and Daily Life International relations (IR) – the relationships among the world’s state governments and the connection of those relationships with other actors (such as the United Nations, multinational corporations and individuals), with other social relationships (including economics, culture, and domestic politics) and with geographic and historical influences. Globalization is internationalizing us IR as a Field of Study Very first chair of international relations was established at the University of Wales in 1919, with the creation of programs, university departments and research institutes all focused on developing expertise in the study of global-level politics. IR is about politics as the global level – the decisions of governments concerning their actions toward other governments, the activities of international institutions, global trade and armed conflict, protest movements, international financial institutions, environmental issues, global trafficking in minerals or people and international human rights. IR: the domestic politics of foreign countries also known as comparative politics. It overlaps with IR to an extent that domestic politics influences foreign policy in many countries and many are involved in both local-level and global-level politics. For example: people in businesses, non-governmental organizations, and social movements, so on. International security – a subfield of international relations that focuses on questions of war and peace International political economy (IPE) – the study of politics of trade, monetary and other economic relations among nations, and their connection to other transnational forces. Scholars study trade and financial relations among nations and international institutions that support these relations. Theories Descriptive – seeks to describe how particular forces and actors operate to bring about a particular outcome Theoretical – place the particular event in the context of a more general pattern applicable across many cases Three broad theoretical perspectives or paradigms: realist, liberal-pluralist, and critical A paradigm, means a group of theories that (1) share a vision of what the world looks like (what); (2) share some sense of what to study in that world (states? Transnational organizations or businesses? Social movements? Economic classes?) (why); (3) share certain values about the purpose or goal of theorizing about global-level politics (how). Within each, there is a general shared consensus about what the world looks like, what we should study in that world and what our purpose or goals are in making theory in IR Realist The realist paradigm sees the world as characterized primarily by conflict Realists believe that most important actors in world politics are states and state decision-makers Purpose of theorizing is to provide insight to help guide decision-makers as they try to deicide what they must do on the global stage Generally values maintenance of the status quo and discounts the element of large- scale change in IR Focuses on the laws of power politics Realist perspectives find their most fertile ground in the subfield of international security, with its logic of military power Relative position with regard to other states is more important than the absolute condition of a state Only truly believe in the state, anarchy and pessimistic Realist perspectives tend to see conflict – or the potential for conflict – as the natural order of things See international trade as a potential source of national power, a view expressed in IPE as mercantilism (the accumulation of national war chest, or the equivalent through control of trade) Liberal-Pluralist The liberal-pluralist paradigm sees the world as characterized more by cooperative relations than conflicting ones They believe we should look at the activities of states and the many other actors involved in global politics: individuals, multinational corporations, international institutions and nongovernmental organizations The purpose of theorizing is to provide practical advise, but not only to state decision makers; rather advice can be provided to any of the actors in global politic
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