April 20, 2007


The fifth debate is still yet to be decided but one pertinent faction of the 21st century is the acceleration of globalization. We hear about globablization and globalism (maybe) a lot these days but its important to point out that with transportation comes globalization and technology. Religion is also an important element of IR, does it produce more violence or more peace in the world? "Political Islam" was thrown out there, Bush has followed the guidance of Jesus Christ and more locally religious extremists in this country are gaining more power everyday. Globalism is a type of globalization, and it centers on deterritorialization. The compression of space and annhilation of distance. Globalism is extending beyond social and geographical space, an example could be Huntington's religous space map. Liberalism is mostly closely aligned with globalization, it is breaking the rules it seeks to enforce. Where neoconservatists emphasize our (or any native) national character, American greed, and the danger of spreading anarchy and diluting the essence of the American homeland.

April 6, 2007

4/4/2007 (not finished)

We defined regulative and constitutive rules on Monday and elaborated today. Regulative rules not being able to be influenced or contrasted to constitutive which are influenes and created by society. Constitutive rules are hard to specity in a rigid way. That is, regulative rules are set in stone, and constitutive rules can be compared to a game of chicken in which the actors can influence the game. Or these can be described as brute facts, or social facts. The first being rules that are set before the states came into play, they cannot be influenced. Social facts refer to things that can be socially transformed, states decide the rules.

April 2, 2007


***We continued with the "English school of thought" which primarily focused on a response to the changing world situation after the Cold War; from the neoliberalist, neorealist positions that focused more on the patterns and mechanisms that underlied the international order. This perspective looked more at the focus on the "international society", an important distinction, because this defined the era, societies were the focus of attention. The definition of an international society can be described as a collection of states that are aware of their common values, and that creates an international community in which societies influence the actions of different actors/states. This intertwines with the rationalist/order apex of the order, security and justice triangle. Emphasis is on order, social impusles wanting to order things (this is different from rational choice theory).*** May be used for journal for last fridays lecture

Constructivism was born about this same time, from a response to the current conditions after the Cold War, and the most influential person on this theory is Alexandra Wendt, an alumni from the U of M around 1992. The basic premise about this theory is that there is a construction that consists of social ideas and practices that constrains the action of states. This can be contrasted to the material culture that was emphasized by Waltz during the neorealist predominace. By this definitinon it would seem that actors like North Korea whose power is defined by material capabilities would be insignificant becuas it is fairly new(without a storied history) and is economically weak.

March 21, 2007


We talked more about neoliberalism, which has faith in the system, but accepts the state as a starting point- the state is the most important actor (this is taken from liberalism). The more institutions there are the more directive state governance, and the states are defined by their function. Neorealism was probed deeper today, the sentence on the projector, "structural constricts the scope of alternatives available to the units", was given and explained. Meaning that the units are not actors or states anymore. Like the primary colors (3 colors), once we know these we know all the possible alternatives. The scope of alternatives available to the units is once we know the basics we know the possible alternatives. The idea is similar to the distribution of capabilities expressed in polarity (measured by the NUMBER of major powers, alliances, etc...), when you come up with these you basically know everything. A short speech by Kenneth Waltz (the foremost neorealist) was listened to about nuclear peace and I think just about everything he mentioned made sense.


First of all, we covered how technology has an effect on IR, and it is interesting to note that the very thing I wrote my paper on was covered in class today--score! Namely movies and IR, and using technical means to improve surroundings, and knowledge of using tools to do tasks efficiently.

We covered the third debate, "the interparadigm debate"(note--cannot find what interparadigm means, try to find): neorealism and neoliberalism, radicalism. They they stem from different roots their ideologies don't seem that much different. Neorealism is a bird's eye structure as it tries to define our community and point of view, it is state-centrist meaning actors are only puppets of states; an internal structure that has been with us for over 1000 years. It is interested in relative gains and materials (resources). Neoliberalism focuses on institutions and new actors, not structures, and change is slow and incremental. Not much more about neoliberalism was said today. Radicalism focuses on the historical processes of emancipation, concentrating on historical dialectics. Hegel, Kant and Marx are influential thinkers in this theory. Radicalists believe that we created the present and it can be changed. Critiquing that belief I think that it is difficult to break the momentum or trend from generations to invoke change in one single generation, though it could be done.


We continued with the behavioralist theories. These are starting to look like cold laboratory type analyses, not concerned so much with people but with data. Behavioralists want an ideological world, not necessarily a better world, as they thought culture was artificial. These are the main criticisms of behavioralism in the late 60s. As IR theorizing developed, different titles were associated with different schools of thought. Traditionalists were linked to international politics, behavioralists with international relations, and post-behavioralists with world politics.

Morganthau contributed some insight into this debate, he said at the end IR is all about psychology, when you know how things happen at the interpersonal level you can interject that knowledge to the international stage. He was concerned about the first level of analysis, what happens within the state. From actor-state-interstate.

February 26, 2007


The people that studied IR in the sixties thought of themselves as the first, pioneers to an emerging science where they could create a human system, a liberal idea where people could have better lives. Although, is this a cold, teleological system, or can it have warm humanistic potentials to influence it. General Systems Theory refers to the theory that instead of reducing an entity (e.g. the human body) to the properties of its parts or elements (e.g. organs, cells), system theory focuses on the whole arrangement. Inputs, processes, outputs, and the boundaries and environment all influence the system. The inputs force the sstem to become adaptable, efficient system and can be altered to create a new system if you are behavorily inclined you look at the world this way -we are conditioned to think this way. Things to look for in the general system is the complexes in interaction, species of elements (do you concentrate on IR through states?), number of elements, relations of them, and degree of organize complexity. An example was give, the Samuel Huntinton Religo-political imagination system. There can be closed and open systems, closed systems woud be ones that continue to operate as they were even with interference. Open systems have evolutionary processes, and the presence of a human element.

February 19, 2007


We've started talking about the 2nd great debate: Behavioralism v Traditionalism. The debate lasted from the 40s-'60s. Alot of the knowledge that the 2nd debate talked about was progressing knowledge from the 1st debate, and what was achieved during that time. This movement brought IR into the social sciences, the modern social sciences, like sociology and psychology instead of humanistic studies like law, history, or philosophy. Behavioralism was the new "scientism" and created the structures that we can see today, processes, institutions-skeleton like distributions, fabrics, networks, or sequences. Traditionalism studied IR in the library and focused on the imagination when looking at the Aristotelian trichotomy, the myths, fantasies, beliefs, stereotypes, etc..One could find out all of this at the library. Behavioralism cut out the imagination, it worked with the scientific method, from the top down. But all this was concerned with how we know things in IR. Explaining phenomena in a positivist way deals with idea that knowledge is accumulaive, you CAN progress through studying. It contends that sense perceptions ar the only admissible basis of human knowledge. Empirical knowledge is gained through observation and experiment.

The Archimedean point is a place away from the study or "battlefield" of IR, this is why Norway was picked as a location to hand out the Nobel Prize, they were not involved on the international scene like a lot of other countries. This is also why Wales was picked to be a location for the first dept. of IR instead of Oxford, it is a point at which an observer can view the totality of the phenomenon objectively.
Ways of knowing:
Diachrony, is the importance of historic knowledge, comparative studies between different points of time, the process of becoming
Synchrony is dissimilar to the above because this way of learning looks back at history and the accumulation of events to explain or predict future events.

February 16, 2007


The topic was variants of idealism. Most often thsese ideas are based on overcoming the sovereign state, modern idealists view the state as an anachronism. By the mentality that one day we wll work together toward better solutions, the historical progress of humanity. And what is the ultimate goal of the idealist, order vs. justice, or collective security? There are different ways to overcome the sovereign state such as: incrementalism, taking achievements step by step, integration, tying to create bigger and better solutions trying to voercome territorialty, revolutionish, rapid jumps or development in linearity, and emancipation, the inclusion of new types of groups or thinking, i.e. gender inclusion (Lady Astor). Emancipation involves creating new actors in recognizing new minorties. The example was made that the EU represented the incremenation point of view, because they are added new states in stages, and the question is whether they are being added too fast and upsetting the balance of order.

February 14, 2007


The topic continued on idealism (idealism v realism) in the 20s-30s. The background of idealism stemmed from the enlightenment era, where the concept of universalism took shape and the ideas of humanity and solidarity. Nationalism, or the concept of the nation-state is a relatively recent concept, an example on American nationalism didn't (and couldn't) begin until the American revolution (1777). The search for a local identity, which is defined in ters of exclusion, and therefor inclusion. The techology and industry in the age made apparent the more devasatating effect that war could have on communities, this then in turn, created a universal outcry to help people, i.e. Red Cross. The League of Nations in 1919 (I think) defines the idealist side of the debate in idealism v realism. The purpose was to promote international cooperation and to achieve niternational peace and security, etc... The purpose was to create order and stability (championed by Norman Angall). On the other end of the spectrum, Lenin thought the idea of justice was what the world order needed. The proletariat v Bougousie (sp?)., after this was gone then the world could be peaceful.

February 12, 2007


We began with the ideas of idealism, the Treaty of Westphalia formed the modern state system, thereby creating an interation between tem, a need for communication, mostly through war and then alliances.
The romantic era was a period where nationalism emerged, it defines the state in terms of national interests "nationalism". Kings weren't fighting each other anymore, now it was nation against nation. WWI showed that cerain things needed to change in the state system for humanity as a whole. You can learn things from war from their devastation. The British enlightenment period came up with the word "humanity". In addition to nationalism in the romantic era, people were thought to have a taranscending identity with humanity as a whole. The nation state is cyclical while humanity is progressive. Which leads to teleologic v teleonomic interpretations of history. Teleology (tele=goal) refers to the idea that progress is inevitable, this is the strong version of progress. Teleonomy on the other hand means that progress may not be inevitable but that it may happen. This is why people go to school so that they can hope to make progress happen, the idea that we can learn from mistakes and create better condtions.

February 7, 2007


We developed on the realist school of thought and focused more on the individual theories of Machiavelli, Morgenthau, and Carr. There was an example given that included three stratas or stages that realists consider: the first is the FACTS layer, (Morgenthau's basic principles), they may be factual or introduced for purposes of education. The masses are concerned with this layer, this is what the few at the top want everyone to believe. Plato coined the term a "nobel lie". The second strata is the criticism of the "facts", they may not be applicable or factual, this is the critical approach. At the top are the rulers, it is the morality and ethics of the state; which is a balance-of-power, or in other words a moderation of power. Rulers are sovereign through the state and they decide exceptions to the rule. People at the top know what's going on and the masses obey the facts- the link between the two is ideally loyal.

Practical reason (phronesis), is not scientiic knowledge. Phronesis is a syntheiss between experience and knowledge. It is constatnly evolving or transforming, and it comes from intuition. This is why every generation is doomed to reapeat history; you can pass on knowledge but not wisdom (Plato).

Hans Morgenthau and Carl Schmitt, two realists, generally thought that the masses are inherently evil. You need to tame people with persuasian, then force, and then violence. Although you can make people obey outright their hearts won't necessarily "obey" or believe the logic people are telling them. Schmitt defines sovereignty as the power to do exceptions, he was also a man that Morgenthau believed was one of the most dangerous he had ever met.


The TA, Miss Wilcox was our leader today. She discussed the basis of realism and some key thinkers in that genre. Realism is defined as the dominant school of thought in IR, although everyone is either arguing for or against these theories. Realist thinkers are accused of being amoral or immoral, but they respond that their priorities are elsewhere. For the good of the state. We need to trust the state and everything is in the interest of the state. This is international politics as POWER politics. Three forms of power are military, economic, and power over opinion (propoganda, campaigns). Morality and the harmony of interests are illusions. We went over Morgenthau's principles of political realism; they are the bsae or facts of realist thinking and we must trust these facts as citizens if we are going to help the state. The ontology of realism includes the wars between states, guns and bombs (this is how we now we need to be realistic) IR has a big stake in war, coercion. The states are units of analysis, main actors. Material power is most important, than economic. Realism is scientific and also based on the wisdom of actors. We also went over the general definitions of anarchy, temporality and sovereignty in realist schools of thought. States are in a self-help system, although the heads of a state decide on the exception to the rule. Temporalily speaking the balance of power theory is constant throught time.

February 2, 2007


Explaining and understanding was the theme of today's lecture. Explaining is being in the system, process, or mechanism or something. Understanding is being emerged in a phenomena you are studying; the meaning and the how. From a radical approach you ultimately meet the object of your research halfway, though maintaing distance is a good method for researching (trying to stay out of the equation). You try to deconstruc the object of your study, to see your own biases. Radically you are the producer of what you study so that is why deconstructing your argument or perspective is crucial.

We went over 4 Great Debates (the family tree of IR):
1st Great Debate happened in teh 20s-30s, and the argument was realism v idalism. The league of nations was on the table at this time, and it seems that radicalism won out because that idea was never passed. The 2nd debate was...

January 31, 2007


The lecture was mainly about history v theory in IR, and that they are two distinct ideas. What are the ontological questions-how do we know about these entities? How do we know which approach is more useful. I'm not sure if its a question of either or; mabe just different perspectives. It's kind of a time or temporal aspect that's important and a conceptual approach-which concepts define history or theory. How does dialectics or historical manicheanism contrast functinoalist conceptualizations? The former explains the dynamics in IR, a synthesis of opposing forces; good and evil. This perspective has meaning and it's leading to somewhere (not sure where at the moment--it could mean that we are always experiencing history and waitng for the next thing to happen). The functionalist approach defines the world in universalist cateories (basic needs). It is the progressive or modernistic definition of IR. It identifies the challenges and major global problems and the best way to tackle them.

One thing to remember is that the origins of IR are in history.

We loked at a couple of different table of contents. One was an example of conceptualizing things in terms of space (here, 8 different chapters).

We looked at the idea of the subparts of the conceptual space of IR. Security, order, and justice are the starting points from every theory of IR. We also looked at Maslov's hierarchy of needs table and compared it to functionalism and also how it could be viewed as a map of the world.