IR theory

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  1. Understanding the "how" to understand the world around us
    the study of political science
  2. Concerns of a political scientist
    • patterns of events
    • description
    • prediction
    • prescription
  3. "systematic reflection on phenomena, designed to explain them and to show how they are related to each other in meaningful, intelligent pattern, instead of being merely random items in a incoherent universe"
  4. 2 types of theory
    normative and empirical
  5. how things "ought" to be based on some kind of ethics, morals, or value judgement
  6. how things are the way they are, outcomes, and is based on rigorous tests and proofs. (causal) Also is developed by induction , deduction or both(aka taking facts and hypothesizes why it might have occurred)
  7. true or false: no such thing as "proven"
  8. How to judge a theory?
    • importance of concepts
    • clear and precise(easily understood)
    • Simple as possible(few variables)
    • plausible
    • logical consistency
    • testable and falsfiable
    • want as much empirical evidence as possible
    • generalizable
    • will link 3 levels of analysis
  9. approach that insists that we can have objectivity
    positivist approach
  10. approach that there is no objective reality because the world is based on interpretation and nothing is value free
    post positivist approach
  11. was first expressed by Kenneth Waltz and can be used to analyze almost any topic, not just war
    importance of "levels of analysis"
  12. level refers to distinctive traits, experiences, and behavior of those responsible for making important decisions on behalf of state and non-state actors, as well as ordinary citizens who behavior has important political consequences
    individual level
  13. analytical approach to the study of world politics that emphasizes how internal attributes of state influence their foreign policy behavior
    state level
  14. emphasizes impact of international structures and processes on behavior on global actors (Waltz emphasizes this level as being the key)
    systems level
  15. 2 types of causes
    permissive and efficient causes
  16. deep, underlying factors whose impact develops over a lengthy time span
    permissive causes
  17. causes that are those with more immediate effects
    efficient causes
  18. lays foundation for other types of realism and they are meant to counter it
    also can be distinct but misunderstood when understanding international affairs, not inmoral
    classical realism
  19. key assumptions of realists
    • 1. States are key actors
    • 2. international politics "is conflictual b/c of anarchy"
    • 3. capabilities determine hierarchy
    • 4. States are rational actors
    • 5. foreign policy is different than international relations
    • 6. power is the key concept
  20. differences between foreign policy and international relations?
    • can't have foreign policy(reaction to international affairs) without international relations
    • international politics is less structured and can't be controlled, but foreign policy can be controlled
  21. Differences between realists?
    • levels of analysis
    • methodological
    • purpose of their work
  22. 2500 yrs of work
    starting pt. is always questions of order, justice and change
    community promotes stability but are fragile and easily undermined
    great powers are their own worst enemies
    key is always an effective central authority or lack there of
    classical realism
  23. father of modern political realism not just classical realism
  24. central assumptions of neorealism
    • Structure determines behavior
    • subnational characteristics unimportant
    • different, but the same(difference b/w unit levels w/ actors behave in the same way over the concern for security)
    • position all that matters
    • importance of anarchy
  25. 3 factors defining structure (neorealism)
    • ordering principles(organization of authority)
    • character of the units (primary actor determines behavior for the system)
    • attributes of actors (distribution of capabilities)
  26. ability of a system to endure over time
  27. arguments for multipolarity
    • cross pressure
    • # os allies
    • # of mediators
    • slows arms races
    • no ability to become preoccupied
    • lower levels of antagonism
    • their ambiguous nature
    • historical/low intensity
  28. theoretical basis in favor of multipolarity
    • based primarily on defensive realism
    • Central argument: national interests of states would lead them to react to any attempt by rival states to change the balance of power through the construction of counterbalancing alliances of ultimately through war itself
    • balance of power creates stability
  29. arguments against multipolarity
    • increased opportunity for conflict
    • interest diversity
    • "fixed pie"(only so much power to go around)
    • increased misception and miscalculations
    • more likely of unequal distribution
    • risk adverse and risk seeking
  30. arguments in favor of bipolarity
    • solid balance
    • war anywhere could equal general war
    • simplicity(only have on worry about one other power)
    • great power pressure on allies
    • only one dyad(2 actors/bilateral relationship) to manage
    • balance of power simplified
    • small state shifting doesn't matter
    • historical stability
  31. arguments against bipolarity
    • intense hostility(very stable but has high hostility)
    • reduced meditators
    • crisis management issue
    • third world conflict more tolerable
    • drawbacks to clarity
  32. What is unipolarity?
    • sometimes seen as a transition system
    • relatively understudied
    • common assumption as # of poles decrease stability and peace increase
    • clarity benefits but multiple problems
  33. a system that contains one state with an overwhelming advantage in capabilities
  34. Drawbacks to unipolarity
    • (primarily an offensive world)
    • no status competitions
    • a freed up unipolar power
    • a divided great power
    • management issues miscalculations by opponents
    • clarity but difficulties in calculating cost/benefits
  35. policy implications? (polarity notes of neorealism section)
    • peace is maintained through balance of power
    • theorists do not advocate a conscious effort to change one system to another
    • concern really is power transition
  36. What are the conclusions about polarity?
    • relationships may vary
    • research produce different results with different indicators
    • distribution of power is only weakly related(if at all) to the onset of the war, but is associated with certain types of war
    • war occurs frequently in all types of systems
  37. it is the inequality in the distribution of power between hegemon and its primary challenger combined with the support of the status quo by the hegemon's allies that keeps peace
    power transition theory
  38. the rise of potential rivals? (pwr transition theory)
    • industrialization
    • modernization
    • size and growth rates
  39. Combination approach? (neoclassical realism)
    • importance of context(system)
    • Relative power
    • importance of state power
    • theory informs foreign policy
  40. states attempt to act with ordered preferences having security at the top but is based on how they perceive the situation around them
    neoclassical realist rationality
  41. Primary prediction of neoclassical realism?
    • long term goal is security but may not reflect day to day reality
    • long narratives are used
    • utilizes 2nd and 1st images to reflect this inconsistent behavior...thus once again no uniform state, no uniform behavior
  42. Whether a state will balance is based on? (schweller and non-unified actor)
    • willingness
    • "ability"
  43. What does make up the state? (schweller and non-unified actor)
    • elite consensus
    • government/regime vulnerability
    • social cohesion
    • elite cohesion
    • (now, these come together and the combination or degree will ultimately matter on what is of interest to the state or what it may accomplish)
  44. exact opposite of realism
  45. Why liberalism is different from realism?
    • progression
    • particular view of human nature
    • a higher/ moral purpose exists
    • optimism
  46. What all liberalism shares?
    • possibility for cooperation has increased over time
    • significant barriers exist
    • information and communication is key
  47. The specifically institutions accomplish?
    • increase # of transactions
    • issue-linkage
    • increased information
    • reduced transaction costs
  48. limitations of liberalism
    • idealistic heritage (provision of public goods, collective security)
    • area of impact (low politics vs high politics)
Card Set
IR theory
IR midterm
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