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Chapter 2 Theories of World Politics Concepts paradigm: dominant way of looking at a particular subject; structures patterns of inquiry and interpretation

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Chapter 2

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chapter 2
Chapter 2

Theories of World Politics

  • paradigm: dominant way of looking at a particular subject; structures patterns of inquiry and interpretation
  • theory: set of hypotheses postulating relationships between variables; used to describe, explain, and predict; must be falsifiable and stand the test of time
concepts continued
Concepts, continued
  • constructivism: acceptance of a paradigm is dependent upon agreement of important theoreticians and relevant groups
  • geopolitics: the relationship between geography, state power, and world politics
  • current history approach: focuses on description of events rather than theoretical explanations of events
  • holds that reason and ethics can overcome international anarchy to create a more orderly and cooperative world
  • stresses the importance of international institutions
  • also associated with “idealism”
aspects of liberalism
Aspects of Liberalism
  • unity of humankind more important than national loyalties
  • importance of the individual and promotion of human rights and civil liberties
  • using ideas and education to promote world peace
  • free international trade
aspects of liberalism cont
Aspects of Liberalism, cont.
  • an end to secret diplomacy
  • terminate interlocking bilateral alliances
  • self-determination of nationalities
  • promotion of democracy
  • associated with President Woodrow Wilson and his Fourteen Points
  • Anarchy characterizes the international system.
  • World politics is a struggle among self-interested states for power.
  • Each state pursues its national interest.
  • “Realpolitik”--states should be prepared for war in order to preserve peace
realism s tenets
Realism’s Tenets
  • People are selfish and ethically flawed and compete for self-advantage.
  • People have an instinctive lust for power.
  • Eradicating this instinct is not possible.
  • International politics is a struggle for power.
  • The prime obligation of the state is promoting the national interest.
realism s tenets continued
Realism’s Tenets, continued
  • Anarchical international system requires states to acquire military power.
  • Military power is more important than economics.
  • Do not trust allies.
  • Resist international efforts to control state protection and institute global governance.
  • Seek flexible alliances to maintain a balance of power
criticism of realism
Criticism of Realism
  • could not explain increased cooperation after World War Two
  • many of its propositions not easily testable: criticized by behavioral scientists
  • disregards ethical principals
  • focuses on military might at economic and social expense of states
  • accepts much of realism
  • states’ behavior determined by differences in relative power
  • all states have same objectives, but different capacities to realize them
  • distribution of capacities determines structure of the international system
  • global level of analysis
  • developed by critics of realism/neorealism
  • focuses on how IGOs and other nonstate actors promote cooperation and peace
  • examines how states cooperate with other and de-emphasize conflict
  • points to regional integration, especially the European Union
feminist critique
Feminist Critique
  • women mostly excluded from power in world politics
  • male policymakers downplay importance of global injustices to women
  • sexism as a pillar of war system
  • realism inattentive to human rights and rationalizes aggression
  • feminist theory focuses on increasing international cooperation
transnational interdependence
Transnational Interdependence
  • complex interdependence: growing ties among transnational actors increases both vulnerability and sensitivity
  • globalization:
    • integration and growing interdependence of states through increasing contact and trade
    • creates a global culture
    • decreases the ability of states to control people and events
international regimes
International Regimes
  • “institutionalized or regularized patterns of cooperation with respect to a given issue or problem according to established rules”
  • World Trade Organization
  • International Monetary Fund
  • nuclear nonproliferation
  • deconstruction
  • chaos theory
  • epistemology
  • social constructivism
  • What are the strong and weak aspects of realism?
  • Why is behavioralism an important component of the social sciences?
  • How does neoliberalism differ from liberalism?
discussion continued
Discussion, continued
  • Which theory has the best explanatory and predictive power regarding the 2003 confrontation between the United States and Iraq?
  • Which theory has the best explanatory and predictive for world politics in general?
  • Does the nature of the international system change over time?