Essay Guide - POL2103 (sections D & E), Winter...

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POL2103 (sections D & E), Winter 2011‐‐Essay Guidelines Worth 30% of your final mark‐due April 7 th The essay assignment requires that you analyze a current topic/event in global politics from a theoretical perspective. Below you will find a list of topics to choose from. You must choose from this list. Once you’ve chosen your topic, you will want to get started on some exploratory empirical research on it. In other words, find out all you can about it and keep up with ongoing events. Your next goal will be to select from one of the theories we have covered in the course (Realism, Liberalism, Marxism, Constructivism, Post‐colonialism). You will use this theoretical perspective as your ‘lens’ through which to look at and analyze the topic you’ve chosen. Any of the theories can be used as lenses in this sense, however a major part of your job will be to correctly use that lens! In other words, you have to understand how the theory sees the world (what it focuses on as most important in explaining things) in order to do a good job on the paper. Which variation of a theory should you use? • Realism: neo‐realism (systemic or structural realism) • Liberalism: neo‐liberal institutionalism • Marxism, Constructivism & Post‐colonialism: the general approach • In other words, stick to the currently dominant versions of the orthodox theories (the neos) and the basic approaches for the critical theories. How do you choose a theory to use? Since any of the theories can be used to look at an issue, the choice is up to you and your interests. Having a good understanding of all the theories will help you make your choice. Ok, you’ve chosen a topic and a theory. Now what? Now it’s time to ‘look through the lens’. By way of example, consider the cases I’ve drawn on in the lectures: the global financial crisis and the 2003 war with Iraq. I explained to you how a neo‐liberal perspective makes sense of the GFC in contrast to how neo‐Realist view looks at it. A Marxist view presents yet another interpretation of the
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Essay Guide - POL2103 (sections D & E), Winter...

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