Alpha to Gamma
Mock-Cliffs on R16-19 exclusively for International Relations
C16: International Relations – An Overview
Two main approaches to reviewing a discipline
Surveying its findings Examining its foundations [Kenneth Waltz, A Handbook of Political Science (1975) *The book was later elaborated into Theory of International Politics (1979)]
The role of the state in present world politics The reason for doing research about matters as this The significance of purpose and meaning in IR Whether theories of IR are to be seen as tentative conjectures or as instruments of power.
Thoughts on Confusion
Misconception: the field of IR as an arena where different schools of thought fight out their differences
*Trivia: PEACE OF WESTPHALIA is the birthday of the state
“The conventional wisdom of the discipline is that the pursuit of ‘grand’ theory has proven a ‘chimera’.” The characterization of IR is as an “American social science”
The emergence of INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL ECONOMY as a subfield on par with the study of INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY and the conditions for INTERNATIONAL ORDER. US dominance
Most remarkable feature
The image of a field characterized by fundamental cleavages giving rise to recurrent “debates”
Idealism VS Realism D2: Scientific VS Traditional Approach D3: Neo-Realism VS Globalists
Sisquel & Ebert on THEORY OF INTERNATIONAL POLITICS
Main object of D3 Written by Kenneth Waltz A realist counter-attack against “bureaucratic politics”, “interdependence” and other subnational and transnational concerns.
Criticized for being wrong in its account of what it sets out to account for …based on untenable epistemology, for being politically conservative
Emphasis is on the international system, nation-states and problems of peace and security Maintained its hold on IR in spite of the massive criticisms leveled against it for years
Effects of the Debate over Realist Theory
Helped to specify theoretical issues and propositions of great importance (David Sanders) Less helpful in defining the field as one of opposing overarching “schools”
Significance of the Nation State
“Without the concept of state to fall back on, scholars would have to abandon the claim that there is something unique about the ‘international’ or ‘interstate’ realm” -Ferguson & Mansbach Trivia: Mainstream IR research is commonly characterized as “state-centric”
Significance of the Nation State
“Nation states or their decision makers are the most important actors for understanding international relations” -
Much Ado about Nation States
The state as object of support The state as object of study The state as explanatory factor
The State as Object of Support
International organizations Multinational organizations
State Centrism – a defense of the nation-state against internationalist challenges
The State as Object of Study
“The substantive core of international relations is the interaction of governments of sovereign states” -Platig
Criticism: the actions and interactions of nation-states and governments are unimportant, that the real groups or entities in politics are classes or transnational coalitions (Vasquez). Ergo, it is a waste of time to examine why states and governments act and interact the way
The State as Object of Study
ERGO, states and governments are increasingly constrained by interdependence and institutions War is becoming increasingly dysfunctional National security concerns are getting obsolete - “The pillars of the Westphalian temple are decaying” (Maghroori & Ramberg)
The State as Object of Study
Ergo, state centrism is whether developments reduce our ability to explain and understand whatever it is that concerns us by focusing on state or government actions and interactions.
State centrism in research reflects the fact that national independence is regarded by peoples as a fundamental human need or value
The State as Explanatory Factor
State centrism means that mainstream research errs in its assumption that the actions and interactions of states and governments can fully be explained at the state and inter-state levels. Waltz’ THEORY OF INTERNATIONAL POLITICS is limited to the level of the interstate system
“State-centrism” as Emperical Issue
There remains the challenge of investigating how the state and attitudes toward the state are affected by the new international relations that are emerging. Politics is becoming transnational Nation-states are becoming penetrated
Europe paradoxical combination of revived nationalism and advancing internationalism European Union is emerging as a major object of study for IR scholars with an interest in the foundations of their field.
The Purpose of Research and the end-of-cold-war problem
IR scholarship from the mid 50’s-80’s may be characterized as the accumulation of explanations of the Cold War’s persistence The sum was a powerful theory of international non-change. There was little basis in this rich literature to expect the East-West confrontation to end – and to do so peacefully and in a short time. Ergo, the “end-of-
Three Purposes of Research
Motivated by extra-academic concerns (I) Motivated by intra-academic concerns (II)
Differentiating Positive from Negative Research
the purpose is to add positively to existing knowledge. The purpose of extra academic c. is to produce social effects The purpose of intra academic is to improve our comprehension of ourselves and our existence.
Negative – to examine the limitations of what others take to be knowledge.
Type I – Problem Solving / Positivism Type III – Post positivism and Critical Theory
Type I Research
Seem to have dominated the study of international relations “peace researchers”
Compared peach research with medical science and has argued that the object is to do away with the quack-doctoring of international relations
Maintained that the continued acquiescence with pre-scientific analysis qualifies as “the ultimate in war crimes”
Follows Galtung in drawing a parallel between IR research and the medical profession
Quantitative International Politics
QIP Criticized for invalid abstraction
More about Type I
The need to be concerned with the future, anticipating future developments to which we have to adapt, assess outcomes of courses of action, contribute to such matters.
Type II Research
There is a dilemma between parsimony and comprehensiveness (Allan) Too strict a pursuit of the scientific criterion of parsimony in their efforts to theorize is inappropriate for developing useful policy-relevant theory and knowledge (George) The solution to the end-of-the-cold-war problem in type II res is to include political ideas and domestic political processes in models of international politics.
Type III research
Emancipation from constraints implied in what is taken by others to be knowledge To demonstrate that the necessary may be avoided and that the impossible may be actualized.
Three Professional Roles of IR Scholars
Constructive Citizen Detached analyst Systematic skeptic
The view that phenomena are explicable only in terms of creative and interpretative minds Challenge to structuralism Mental phenomena have loomed large in studies of foreign policy decision-making and bargaining.
Explanation – presumed to deal with causes Causes – external to the actor whose behavior is to be explained Understanding – taken to deal with meaning Meaning – understood from within
“Two plausible stories to tell, one from the outside about the human part of the natural world and the other from inside a separate social realm. One seeks to explain, the other to understand… [and] combining the two stories is not as easy as it first seems.” -Hollis & Smith
He analyzed the substantive motives states have had for waging war and the prevailing attitudes toward war in various epochs
May be seen as generalized purposes and meanings. “much behavior is recognized by participants as reflecting established rules, norms and conventions” (Keohane)
To emphasize the autonomous role of politics in society Focus on the ways in which political life is organized around the development of meaning through symbols, rituals and ceremonies rather than on decisionmaking and the allocation of resources To see political actors as responding to obligations and duties than self-interest (March & Olsen)
Historically set the tone of the autonomy of politics at the international level Conceived of politics in terms of the concept of interest defined in terms of power This concept sets politics as an autonomous sphere of action and understanding apart from other spheres, such as economics, ethics,
Suggests that we distinguish between institution as a “general pattern or categorization of activity” and as a “particular humanconstructed arrangement formally or informally organized”
Sources of Compliance
are assumed to affect actors’ calculation of cost. Similar to the Structural Theory
that preferences and perceptions are not fixed but are affected by institutions.
Theory: Conjecture or discourse?
Theory as a set of answers
set of explanatory hypotheses which purport to reveal the rules of the game of international politics to devise a right way of studying the phenomena of world affairs
Theory as a set of questions
Game Theoretical Analysis
Said to address the wrong problem It is concerned with the implications of given preferences and perceptions without asking how preferences and perceptions are formed (Jervis)
Feminist critiques of IR theory may be a third indication of disagreement over what theory is. Mainstream theory actively prescribes male-oriented concerns Theory as oppressingly normative than conjectural and analytic.
IR theories are interesting mainly as expressions of the limits of the contemporary political imagination Attempts to think otherwise about political possibilities are constrained by categories and assumptions that contemporary political analysis is encouraged to take for granted. -end-
C17: International Relations –Neorealism and Neo-liberalism
A simple but flexible set of propositions about nation-state behavior in the contemporary international system. The product of a conducted “thought experiment” which attempted to specify what neo-realism and neoliberalism would look like if their efforts to constitute versions of rational choice theory were
Was both a simple decision-making theory and a proto-structural theory about outcomes in the international system
Any analysis of international politics which confined itself merely to the attributes of the nation-state units or to the interactions between units was fundamentally “reductionist” and therefore inadequate. -Waltz
A possible restatement of the Hobbesian security problem which was central to traditional realism
Limitations of the Game Theoretic approach to international relations theory
Problems relating to the role of national interests Ineffective specification of “structural constraints”
Axelrod & Keohane
Perceptions define interests to understand the degree of mutuality of interests, we must understand the process by which interests are percieved and preferences determined.
Game Theoretic Perspective
A state’s interests are maximized if its payoff gains are maximized Its payoff gains can themselves be regarded as gains in capabilities (Baldwin)
QUINCY WRIGHT standard
Someone who has command of an enormous range of substantive case studies of interests and who possesses the theoretical insight to offer a simplifying synthesis of what he or she observes.
According to Waltz, it is a set of constraining conditions that produces a gap between intention and outcome
Two Characteristics of an Intl Sys
The particular distribution of capabilities that it exhibits Anrachic ordering principle upon which it is based
Released a work on the importance of relative gains under varying conditions of system polarity
C18: International Relations: Post-positivist and Feminist Perspectives
J. Ann Tickner
C19: International Relations, Old and New
Robert O. Keohane
The Alvarez Hypothesis
By Luis and Walter Alvarez Theory of the demise of the dinosaurs A cosmic collision 65 million years ago threw tremendous quantities of dust into the air, reducing global temperature and thus killing the dinosaurs.
Based on two characters created by Agatha Christie and P.D. James Students of IR would do well to imitate this detectives by carefully observing and describing events, specifying the causal mechanisms that could have led to these results, and testing accurate predictions of complex events.
Cause of the revival of Realism
Adolf Hitler’s accession to power in Germany Subsequent crises and war that resulted
A dominant approach Served as an antidote to ideological thinking A source of caution, emphasizing the principle of avoiding over-extension by keeping ends aligned with the means to achieve them. “The Owl of Minerva only flies at dusk.”
Direct foreign investment
Means that multinational corporations have a major presence around the world.
May benefit from increasing formalization, in the form of rational choice theory as long as the historical and comparative contexts of action are kept in mind and propositions generated by theory are tested empirically, rather than simply being applied.