Lecture Notes - CH2

Lecture Notes - CH2 - CHAPTER 2 Theories of World Politics...

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CHAPTER 2 Theories of World Politics Chapter Outline I. Understanding World Politics A. The Elusive Quest for Theory B. The Evolution of Theoretical Inquiry II. Liberalism A. The Liberal Worldview B. The Liberal Reform Program III. Realism A. The Realist Worldview B. Realism in the Nuclear Age C. The Limitations of Realism D. Controversy: Can Behavioral Science Advance the Study of International Relations? E. The Neorealist or “Structural” Extension of Realism F. The Neoclassical Extension of Realism IV. Neoliberalism A. Controversy: Neoliberalism versus Neorealism B. Transnational Interdependence as a Neoliberal Counter Worldview to Realism C. Controversy: What’s Missing in Realist Theories of Interstate Relations? D. International Regimes V. Alternative Theories VI. Theorizing about Theory: The Constructivist Conception Chapter Summary I. Understanding World Politics Social scientists have developed various paradigms to make international events understandable. A. The Elusive Quest for Theory Major wars, such as World War I, World War II, and the Cold War, tend to bring about significant changes in the theoretical interpretation of world affairs. The main perspectives covered in this chapter are realism, neorealism, liberalism and neoliberalism. All are also examined through constructivism, which explains how all paradigms depend for their acceptance on the extent to which theoreticians and other groups reach an intersubjective consensus on how to define core concepts and communicate these shared images and understandings. B. The Evolution of Theoretical Inquiry The early study of international relations focused mainly on commentary about personalities and events, past and present – the current history approach. However, the geopolitical approach of Mackinder and Mahan was the exception 1
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Theories of World Politics and attempted to develop theoretical propositions about the influence of geographic factors on national power and international politics. The destruction of World War I led to the search for a theory to reliably predict war and help prevent it. II. Liberalism After World War I, several perspectives on international relations competed for attention, among them Marxism-Leninism and Nazism. Liberalism, however, became the dominant worldview. A. The Liberal Worldview Liberalism stresses the importance of the individual, ethical principles and institutions. It sees politics as a struggle for consensus rather than for power. Liberalism has its roots in the writings of David Hume, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Immanuel Kant. It was based on the following beliefs: 1. Human nature is “good.” 2. Progress is possible. 3. Evil institutions encourage people to act selfishly and to harm others. 4.
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This note was uploaded on 04/29/2008 for the course INST 102 taught by Professor Lebamoff during the Spring '08 term at Loyola Chicago.

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Lecture Notes - CH2 - CHAPTER 2 Theories of World Politics...

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