Waltz, Kenneth - The Anarchic Structure of World Politics

Waltz, Kenneth - The Anarchic Structure of World Politics -...

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Week 2: Waltz, Kenneth “The Anarchic Structure of World Politics” aj – pgs 29-49 Political Structures - to understand international politics, we need a theory that shows it as a separate domain (a structure within a system) o a system is composed of a structure and interacting units we must define a structure free of the interacting units so that we can distinguish between variables at the unit-level and at the system-level we must leave aside questions about types of political leaders, economic/social institutions, ideological commitments of the state and cultural/economic/political/military interactions between states o to define a structure, we must concentrate on how states stand in relation to one another, how they are arranged, and how they are positioned we must ignore how states interact and relate with one another because personality, behaviour and interactions vary widely, while structures endure structural definition applies to a diversity of substance as long as the arrangement of its parts is similar – theories developed for one realm may be applicable to other realms as well - a political structure includes what is necessary to show how the units of the system are arranged: o The Ordering Principles Shows the degree of each authority There is a hierarchy in domestic politics, not international politics o The Character of the Units Specification of functions (eg. Congress supplies military forces, president commands them etc) Shows how the units stand in relation to one another o The Distribution of Capabilities Even when specified functions remain unchanged, units stand in different relation with each other because of differences in their capabilities (relative capability) 1. Ordering Principles - International systems are without structure, decentralized and anarchic, often referred to as “politics in the absence of government” - Without authority, formal relationships of super/sub – ordination fail to develop - Structures emerge from the coexistence of states
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o Adam Smith’s Classical Economic Theory (an order is spontaneously formed from the self-interested acts and interactions of individual units) can be applied to the way international political systems are formed
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Waltz, Kenneth - The Anarchic Structure of World Politics -...

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