PLS 370-A01

  • Int’l relations: limited, outdated term?
  • prefer “global”
  • Origin of nation-state: Treaty of Westphalia, 30-yr war
  • author: Hobbes
  • EU: made up of feudal empires
    • Church
    • emperor gave fief to
    • kings, who appointed
    • feudal lords, who ruled
    • serfs (expected to be loyal to ALL
  • Church/state conflict at root of 30YW
  • Hobbes argued multiple conflicting loyalties at root of conflict
  • 1648 Birth of Nation-State
  • primary political unit in which people are organized
  • MNC’s
  • NGO’s
  • IGO’s
  • social movements (loosely organized)
  • individuals
  • globalization
  • int’l regimes
    • parts of global governance
    • sets of int’l norms, rules, and expectations governing int’l behavior in different issue-areas
      • human rights
      • monetary regime/Bretton Woods system
        • source of IMF & World Bank
      • trade (WTO)
      • environmental
      • space/orbital
      • law of seas
      • laws (of/in) war

BONUS PROJECT (2% of grade)

  • cover recent developmt in world politics from provided list
  • provide fact, context, etc
  • examine with various theoretical frameworks and then critique each approach
  • non-American nation/region, IGO/NGO
  • next class to decide


Intro: IR theory

  • what is theory
  • significance of theory
  • eplanatory and constitutive theory
  • levels of analysis
  • scope of theory
  • purpose of theory
  • concepts: ontology & epistemology
  • ontological issues
  • epistemological issues
  • different images

what is theory? significance of theory

  • theory helps us make sense of the world
  • Viotti & Kauppi: theory “makes the world or some part of it more intelligible or better understood.”
    • theory offers intellectual constructs. out of the many facts, theories identify what to focus on and what not to
  • theories often identify patterns (regularities) in IR, describe them, and try to explain their causation and seek to predict
  • theory is necessary in order to describe, understand or predict/critique IR
    • For e.g. what are the causes of way?attempots to explain this event will result in different theories that offer different perspectives on what causes wars

explanatory & constitutive theory

Traditional intl theory is mostly explanatory, and post-positivist theory is largely constructive

  • explanatory theory
    • treats the world as the object of theory and external to the act and process of theorizing
    • treats the social world as the natural world
  • constitutive theory
    • theories help constitute the world
    • theory shapes the way we see and define the world
  • epistemology: treats the social world as a construct, constructed by the language and concepts we use

Epistemology: how do we know what we know?

Ontology: what is the nature of [subject being discussed]?

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