POLI 243 notes - Jan 6 2009 POLI 243 International...

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Jan 6, 2009 POLI 243: International Politics of Economic Relations Prof: Mark R Brawley Office Hours: Tues & Thurs 10:30 – 11:30, 330 Leacock Theories Qualities of a Theory - Accuracy - Parsimony or leverage - Generalizability Tasks for a Theory - Description - Prediction - Prescription - Provide a normative goal Theories are built on assumptions - Assumptions shape the qualities of theories - An assumption is something we assume to be true, even if in its entirety it isn’t (ie Realism) Paradigms - Paradigm has two meanings: o 1) An example o 2) An approach Categorizing theories into paradigms - By their characteristics: o Realism o Liberalism o Marxism o Institutionalism o Constructivism - By Levels of Analysis o Social sciences typically divide their subjects into levels, depending on the variables they are studying o In IR, we divide by the levels where we locate the politics – where the key actors are 1) System level 2) Domestic level
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3) Bureaucratic level 4) Idiosyncratic level Jan 8, 2008 Beginning of Theorizing in IR Classical Idealism - Took off after WWI with the intention of preventing future wars (League of nations) o Began as political economy (end of 1800s), came from background of international law o Goal was a world without war: they began to be referred to as idealists 1) Human behaviour can be perfected 2) A “harmony of interests” exists between people and between states 3) Therefore war is never an appropriate way to resolve disputes – the harmony of interest needs to be uncovered through discourse - This school of thought was very much shaped by WWI Classical Realism (1940s) - Developed by historians who disagreed with the harmony of interests – different countries have different interests so sometimes war is more desirable o Took over form idealists when WWII started and it became clear that there wasn’t a harmony of interests 1) Humans have a will to survive, which makes them selfish 2) The will to survive equals a will to dominate 3) This creates a competition to dominate, which in turn creates a search for power Structural Realism - Kenneth Waltz: Man, state, and war: questions the utility of debating human nature in IR o We should be more concerned with the situation of states ; not the nature of humans 1) States are the most important actors 2) States are unitary and rational actors 3) The international system is anarchic 4) States seek to maximize their power - Bipolarity is the most stable system because of balancing Assuming Rational Action - Involves a series of assumptions o Actions have purposes o Actors have perfect information o Actors know their preferences and can rank them o Actors know all possible options and the consequences of each o Actors calculate the costs and benefits associated with each option
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Waltz’s Structural Realism - Waltz’s ideas were summarized in Theory of International Politics 1) Ordering principle a. Domestic politics have hierarchy; the international system is anarchic 2) Differentiation of the Parts a.
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