Unformatted text preview: ARTS1811
Continuity & Change Lecture 5: 17 August, 2009
Critiques of Realism
Alternative Approaches Lecture Outline
2. The construction of theory
3. Normative theories
5. Critical theory
9. Marxism and World Systems Theory
10. Reflecting on IR Theory Reflectivist Theory
Reflectivist Theory Concerned with ‘what ought to be’ rather than ‘what is’. Politics is the nexus point of normative concerns. Proponents may accept what is but are: Critical of the implications of traditional (Realist) ideas of IR because of: Realists’ attempt to hide values & assumptions – by claiming to be objective and descriptive; & Their contribution to contemporary problems/ insecurity. Contribution of Normative Theories
Contribution of Normative Theories Identify & critique ‘insecurity of security’ extent to which traditional ideas undermine security of individuals and the world. Allow us to consider alternative actors individuals, civil society/international organisations & threats (e.g. internal human rights, poverty, environmental change). Aimed at changing how people consider ethical choices we make as a means of affecting policy. Some of these ideas have been ‘adopted’, have gained momentum & have encouraged positive practices. Problemsolving theories
Problemsolving theories Problem solving theories take world as they find it. Address lack of structure of problems in experience.
Set agendas & search for rules for decisionmaking.
Work of managers, etc. is largely making decisions & solving problems problem solving.
Evaluating & choosing is decision making.
But there are limits to how far we can go.
Complexity of the world in which we live.
Incompleteness/inadequacy of human knowledge.
Inconsistencies of individual preference and belief.
Value conflicts among people & groups.
Inadequacy of computations we can carry out. Critical Theory: Frankfurt School
Critical Theory: Frankfurt School Marxist but rejected contention that proletariat possessed power/capacity to emancipate society. Working class absorbed by the system. Marcuse working class could not conceive of alternative to status quo. Emancipation is the solution security/liberty. Free people from unnecessary structural limits. Stress language/definition – how can you deal with something if you can’t define it precisely Booth. Focus on issues such as poverty, human rights, environmental change, avoidance of conflict. Critique of Realism creates problems rather than describes them serves interests of powerful. Critical Theory: Central Tenets
Critical Theory: Central Tenets Critical theory for marginalised, voiceless & oppressed: vulnerable should be our concern. States can fail to care for their population (e.g. spend on military over health or education) or threaten it (e.g. HR, ‘war on terror’). Liberal approaches don’t go far enough legitimise states or preserve existing system. Emancipation radical democracy. Habermas extend to international environment. Linklater emancipation in IR expansion of moral boundaries of a political community. Borders of state lose ethical/moral significance. Degree to which we citizens focus our loyalty on the state is indefensible. Critical Theory in Action
Critical Theory in Action Antiterror laws & civil liberties. Australian US &UK governments undermining individual security in order to further national security? Australia’s asylumseeker policy denied ethical/legal responsibility to the most vulnerable in name of security. Are we as citizens more willing to tolerate behaviour that would recently have been unacceptable? Can appear divorced from reality of world politics. Prioritise ‘what ought to be’ over ‘what is’ (e.g. little attention to domestic pressures constructivist). Gaining security by trashing the state’? What comes after the state? How can security be realised without the state? Problem of being operationalised Too cynical about states & their motives. Responses to humanitarian crises: can never use force? Criticisms
Criticisms Feminist Approaches
Feminist Approaches Where are the women in IR?
Source/nature of threat is dynamics of power.
Social hierarchy on violence & inequality.
Theories reflect male perspective – don’t recognise women.
Structural violence from power based on gender.
Patriarchal privilege & control legitimise violence.
Feminists integrate private with public & political.
Gender will bring new issues & alternative perspectives will be added to the debate.
Change would result in rethink about militarism, development & environment, poverty & population. Constructivism: Origins & Goals
Constructivism: Origins & Goals Attempts to locate middle ground between: Rationalism states seek to maximise interests by most efficient ways to promote their interests; & Reflectivism – anything that opposes rationalism. deals with the same features of world politics as neo
realism and neoliberalism, yet is centrally concerned with both the meanings actors give to their actions and the identity of these actors – Smith, 2001. Anarchy is what states make of it: by itself, absence of higher authority doesn’t cause certain actions &/or dynamics (e.g. militarisation & endemic conflict). Attempts to provide a sophisticated explanation or understanding of world politics. Constructivism: Central Tenets
Constructivism: Central Tenets States act towards institutions/structures on basis of meanings those institutions/structures have for them. Meanings arise via interaction in different contexts. State interests defined on basis of interpretations of social situations in which they participate. Can be: International: e.g. global normative context; Domestic: e.g. main expectations in domestic context. Simply: the world is socially constructed. Relations between states & structures are mutually constitutive. Identity & ideas matter in IR e.g. norms, history & identity. Constructivism: key elements
Constructivism: key elements Human consciousness/ideas as structural factors. Relation of ideas & social/pol/eco forces guided by how actors define/interpret material reality. Construction of structures & impact of structures on environment – producing agents. Knowledge influences actors in interpreting & constructing their social reality. Social facts – sovereignty, human rights – exist because of human consensus. Social rules are at once regulative and constitutive. Constructivism challenges assumptions. Power actor gets another to do what it might not wish to do; & Identities that limit actor’s ability to control its fate. Constructivism and IR
Constructivism and What constitutes IR issue changes with context. State interests and practices change over time depending on interpretations of: International (normative) context; History, culture & identity. Norms go through cycles: ‘Structures’ (anarchy) & ‘institutions’ (UN) are socially constructed. Representation is central to the construction of security. States should be the means not the ends of security of their citizens Constructivism in Action: Constructivism in Action: Copenhagen School Issues are constructed as particular issues meaning is not set in stone as in Realism. Constructed via language security is a speech act, usually by state leaders. But to be successful, must be accepted (by the domestic population). In the case of security, the discussion is about the pursuit of freedom from threat. When this discussion is in the context of the international system, security is about the ability of states and societies to maintain their independent identity and their functional integrity Buzan Constructivism in Action: Turkey’s Constructivism in Action: Turkey’s Approach to Kurdish Population I Turkey’s approach to Kurdish minority traditionally defined in military terms, but not inevitable. Increased political representation, expression of Kurdish identity, greater respect for HR. Kurds not necessarily a threat. Why has some change occurred? Changing role of Islam in Turkish identity. Islamist party in power in Ankara. Impact of HR pressure, especially from EU. Movement towards Arab neighbours. Growing concern about Iraq. Constructivism in Action: Turkey’s Constructivism in Action: Turkey’s Approach to Kurdish Population II Constructivist analysis might focus on: Extent of change (from issue requiring military action to engagement with Kurdish minority). Sources of change (interaction and changing identity narratives). Implications for thinking about security (from a security issue to a nonsecurity issue or from one security discourse to another?). How ideas might further be changed to allow better outcomes, break down us/them attitude. Criticisms of Constructivism
Criticisms of Constructivism Overly complex: can’t be used simply to explain or predict security practice. Too much attention to ideas at the expense of material power Realists. Does history, culture and identity really matter relative to material interests? Not that different from Realism in many ways: e.g. still a focus on/acceptance of states as ‘givens’ in world politics. Really a theory of international relations at all? Poststructuralism: Central Tenets
Poststructuralism: Central Tenets
At the heart of postmodernism is very poor, deeply confused & misbegotten philosophy. As a result even the very best students who fall under its sway produce radically incoherent ideas about language, meaning, truth & reality – G. Kitching, “The Trouble with Theory” Postmodernism = poststructuralism.
Powerknowledge relations (e.g. Foucault).
All knowledge is imbued with power relations.
Important to work out why certain meanings or discourses come to prominence at the expense of others. Postmodernism doesn’t argue there’s no reality just that we can’t completely/ objectively depict reality. ‘What is real’? Representation central to politics: world is discursively produced. Poststructuralism and IR
Poststructuralism and IR What constitutes an IR issue is determined by those with power to do so serves their own interests. Powerknowledge relations. Security does things: enables certain actions and actors, marginalises others. Security is central to the political project. Realist discourse is predicated on fear. Defined in opposition to the ‘other’. Representation central to the construction of reality and therefore security. Poststructuralism & Poststructuralism & Creation of the Cold War Cold war dynamics not inevitable created in US by representation of Soviet ‘other’. Central to continued ability of US government to define US identity & proscribe or limit actions & freedoms of population. The highest political objectives of the state are now phrased in terms of the maintenance of national security…defined in negative terms as the exclusion of the depredations of external ‘Others’ Dalby (1990). The constant articulation of danger through foreign policy is required to ensure a state’s identity & existence Campbell (1992). Security less an objective definition than political tool that does things. Poststructuralism in action: Poststructuralism in action: Australia & asylumseekers Unauthorised asylumseekers a security threat/issue.
Not inevitable – a policy choice/discourse.
Demonisation/vilification of asylumseekers.
‘potential terrorists’; ‘queuejumpers’; ‘children overboard’; ‘illegals’. Importance of language/representation; definition of identity. Definition of asylumseekers as security threat gave legitimacy to government’s policies & to government generally. Poststructuralism in action: Poststructuralism in action: antiterrorism kit & security A political tool. Produced to augment fear of terrorism to justify action (Iraq, antiterror legislation) & government. Reflected in limited & vague advice about preventing terrorism. Representation of Australian identity and ‘way of life’. Criticisms of PostStructuralism
Criticisms of PostStructuralism Realists:
Divorced from ‘real world’ of IR.
What about constraints on actors?
Was Australia’s response to asylumseekers (e.g.) a product of domestic pressure?
Cynical about motives of states & ascribes importance to the use of language too much?;
Limited in capacity/willingness to advance normative claims beyond criticism. How should states act? Contribution of Constructivism & Contribution of Constructivism & PostStructuralism Allow us better understanding of how certain issues come to be conceptualised and addressed as security issues in particular ways. Allow us (especially constructivism) to understand changes in foreign and security policy/practice over time and across states. E.g. point to importance of representation. Allow us to reflect (especially poststructuralism) on the political functions served by defining issues as security issues. Marxism & Marxism & World Systems Theory
Capitalism is the exploitation of man by man.
Socialism is the other way around.
Gramsci developed idea of hegemony.
Hegemony has two facets hard & soft power.
A break from earlier Marxists, including Engels, who saw hegemony as force & material power. Engels: hegemony nothing but a machine for the oppression of one class by another. A very monodimensional vision. Gramsci and Soft Power
Gramsci and Soft Power Force/compulsion is important in exercise of power. In developed societies, soft power/consent is important. Consent provides the mechanism through whichthe ruling class, the power elite, imposes its values on the rest of society. These values become so widely promoted that they become part of a society’s ‘common sense’. Robert Cox theory is always for someone, and for some purpose – 1981. World Systems Theory
World Systems Theory
Capitalism is dominant force.
Free trade a major tool of the hegemon.
Has reached stage where the dominant or hegemonic core exploits the underdeveloped, declining and dependent periphery. All politics now takes place within the framework of the global capitalist economy. Social classes are also important in IR. Wallerstein & world systems theory
Wallerstein Two distinct systems or political organisation – world empires & world economies. Based on the distribution of resources. World empires (Rome) drew resources into the core from the periphery. World economies have potentially multiple centres of power, with resource distribution determined by the market. Wallerstein – the semiperiphery: of states that have characteristics of both core & periphery. Reflecting on IR Theory
Reflecting on IR Theory Goal of last few weeks: to
Goal of last few weeks: show IR lacks single, accepted meaning; provide bases for reflecting on assumptions of actors acting in certain ways; provide basis for reflecting on implications of acting/thinking in certain ways (e.g. ethically); provide a conceptual basis for exploration of empirical issues/processes in following weeks. Different theories do different things. Can aim at explanation or normative change; understanding process or effects of definition. Can combine different elements. Attributes of a theory
Attributes of a theory Clarity – precise concepts cause & effect relationships governing observed patterns are adequately specified – argument underpinning relationships is logically coherent. KISS – simplifies reality – focus on important phenomena contains all relevant factors needed for explanation without being too complex. Explanatory power – has empirical support – deepens understanding of phenomena – explains things not accounted for by rival theories. Prescriptive power – makes possible policy recommendations – shows how to avoid or ameliorate problems. Falsifiable – can be proven wrong – will set out the evidence that might refute its claims. Defining International Interests
Defining International Interests Australian government defines its role as preservation of nationstate from external threat. A Realist interpretation of its responsibilities. But this is based on political calculations (post
structuralism). And/or conceptions of history, culture and identity (constructivism). ...
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