International Relations (IR) theories are frameworks used to understand and analyze the complex dynamics of the international system.
These theories provide different perspectives on how states, institutions, and other actors interact, and they help explain the causes and consequences of international events.
Realpolitik, also known as realism or neo-realism, focuses on power, national interests, and state behavior in international relations.
It argues that states are the primary actors and that their actions are driven by self-interest, competition, and the pursuit of security.
Realists emphasize the role of power, balance of power, and military capabilities as key factors shaping the international system
Liberalism, or neo-liberalism, emphasizes the importance of institutions, cooperation, and interdependence in international relations.
It argues that states can achieve mutual benefits through cooperation, diplomacy, and the establishment of international norms and rules.
Liberalists believe in the potential for peace, economic integration, and the promotion of democracy and human rights in the international system.
Marxism, or neo-Marxism, applies the principles of class struggle and economic factors to the analysis of international relations.
It focuses on the unequal distribution of resources, economic exploitation, and the role of capitalism in shaping global politics.
Marxists argue that the international system is characterized by power struggles between dominant capitalist states and exploited developing nations.
Feminism in international relations seeks to analyze gendered power dynamics, gender inequality, and the marginalization of women in global politics.
It highlights the importance of gender in shaping international relations, including the roles of women in conflict, peacebuilding, and decision-making processes.
Feminist theories aim to challenge traditional conceptions of power and promote gender equality and inclusivity in the international system.
Constructivism focuses on the role of ideas, norms, and social constructs in shaping international relations.
A. Introduction to IR Theories
Meaning and Definition of International Relations
1. Lack of Consensus in Definitions
There is no unanimity among writers and scholars regarding the meaning and definition of IR, leading to various explanations and definitions.
Different scholars offer different perspectives on what IR entails, reflecting its complexity and multidisciplinary nature.
2. Quincy Wright's Perspective
Quincy Wright views IR as concerned with the official links among sovereign states, examining the realities and conduct of relations within states through a scientific outlook.
IR should encompass various aspects such as politics, trade, diplomacy, and other factors within states, including inquiries on types of government, international order, common people, culture, and religious denominations.
3. Views of Other Scholars
Prof. Schleicher defines IR as relations among states.
Hans J Morgenthau defines IR as a struggle for power among nations, emphasizing the pursuit of power and the resulting conflicts in international politics.
Charles Reynolds regards IR as the process by which conflicts arise and are resolved at the global level, where nation-states act in pursuit of their political interests.
4. Sprout's Definition
Harold and Margret Sprout view IR as dealing with communication and ties among independent political entities marked by conflicts and opposition.
5. Alfred Zimmern's Perspective
Professor Alfred Zimmern suggests that IR is not limited to a single field of inquiry but draws upon multiple fields of study such as law, economic relations, politics, and geography.
International Politics & IR
1. Synonymous Usage
The terms "international relations" and "international politics" are often used interchangeably, especially by renowned scholars like Hans J. Morgenthau and Kenneth Thompson.
2. Scope of International Relations
International relations is used in a broader context than international politics, encompassing various aspects such as political, social, cultural, diplomatic, and non-diplomatic ties.
Harold and Margaret Sprout view international relations as human behavioral patterns across national boundaries, influencing attitudes on the other side of a country's borders.
3. Narrower Focus of International Politics
International politics is used in a narrower sense, primarily concerned with the study of conflict and collaboration within states, particularly at the political level.
Padelford and Lincoln define international politics as the interface of state regulations and rules within changing power dynamics.
Palmer and Perkins also emphasize that international politics mainly revolves around the state system.
4. Methodological Differences
International relations is descriptive in nature, involving the systematic study of various factors, while international politics is analytical in nature.
International relations encompasses a broader scope than international politics.
5. Relationship and Interdependence
Despite the differences, there is a close relationship between international relations and international politics.
Some scholars consider international politics as a subfield of international relations.
Both fields share the same goals and objectives, despite their methodological variances.
Need for Study IR level of Analysis
1. Need for the Study of International Relations
International Relations (IR) is essential due to the division of people into different political communities that form an international system of various nations.
While states are legally independent, they are interconnected and influence each other within the international state system.
IR covers a wide range of events, including politics, global trade, and the involvement of non-state actors.
2. Objectives of the Discipline of IR
Understanding the origin of conflicts and the importance of maintaining peace at the international level.
Analyzing the nature and exercise of power within the international framework.
Examining the changing roles of state and non-state actors in global decision-making.
3. Interdependence in the Contemporary World
Increasing international collaboration and the significance of global organizations like the United Nations, World Bank, and World Trade Organization.
Addressing concerns such as international terrorism, economic issues, and political environments.
4. Three Levels of Analysis in IR
A. Individual Level of Analysis
Focuses on human behavior and the influence of political leaders in shaping foreign policy.
Conflict arises due to self-interest, impulsive decisions, or the character of specific statesmen or leaders.
B. State Level of Analysis
Examines the behavior of states and considers factors such as type of government, internal constituents, and cultural affiliations.
Internal structures and domestic dynamics of states can influence foreign policy directives.
C. System Level of Analysis
Considers the global level system and its impact on state behavior.
An anarchical international system shapes the directives and policies of states.
Power dynamics within the international system, such as the bipolarity of the Cold War or the unipolarity of today, influence the behavior of nations.
Emergence of State System
1. Pre-Westphalia Political Arrangements
States existed before the Treaty of Westphalia but were not sovereign.
The Roman Church restricted the abilities of states.
People lived under various political arrangements, including empires like the Roman and Ottoman Empires.
The future of political arrangements is uncertain, and a shift away from nation-states is possible.
2. Emergence of International State System
The Greek city-states, known as Polis, represented an early form of state-like political arrangements.
The Roman Empire occupied territories and subordinated acquired communities.
The Roman Empire eventually declined, leading to the rise of Western and Byzantine Empires and Islamic civilizations.
During the medieval period, empires existed but lacked independence and defined territories.
3. Treaty of Westphalia and the Rise of Modern State System
The Treaty of Westphalia, signed in 1648, ended the thirty years of war and established the modern state system.
Major European powers agreed to respect each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Sovereignty became a defining feature of modern states, along with diplomacy and mediation.
The Westphalian model influenced the formation of international organizations like the United Nations.
4. Post-Westphalia State Systems
The Westphalian model secularized global relations, promoted sovereignty, and advocated for equal treatment of nations.
The Westphalian system spread to regions beyond Europe, including Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
The Westphalian model influenced diplomatic practices and international cooperation.
The transition to a post-Westphalian era is ongoing, marked by coexistence and confrontations.
International organizations play a role in maintaining order in the sovereign state system.
Challenges to Westphalian System
1. Challenges to the Westphalian System
Debate exists on whether the Westphalian system still dominates in the present century.
Centrifugal and centripetal forces shape modern international relations.
Globalization brings nations together but also causes disintegration.
Non-state actors, such as international organizations and multinational corporations (MNCs), compete with sovereign states.
The number of global organizations and institutions has increased.
Global governance operates through organizations like the IMF, World Bank, and WTO.
2. Impact of Globalization
Globalization challenges the authority and decision-making power of nation-states.
Policymaking is shaped by various actors associated with the nation.
The belief that globalization would restrain state sovereignty has gained strength.
The post-WWII period has seen states restrained in pursuing their individual objectives due to international organizations and global rules.
3. Presence of International Governance
Nation-states and their sovereignty are challenged by international governance.
Global governance operates through international, regional, and local organizations.
Examples include the United Nations and its various agencies, regional organizations like the EU, ASEAN, and NATO.
The end of the Cold War led to growing integration and erosion of Westphalian sovereignty.
4. Continued Influence of the Westphalian Model
The Westphalian model was revolutionary for its time and advanced the concept of international diplomacy.
Its influence remains significant in contemporary times.
However, the challenges and changes brought by globalization and international governance have impacted the Westphalian system.
B. Realpolitik (Kautilya)/ Realism/ Neo-Realism
What is Realism ?
1. Realist Thinkers
Realists emphasize prudent behavior and believe that international relations are rooted in human nature and self-interest.
They view the international system as anarchical in the absence of a central authority.
Accumulating power is necessary for survival in this anarchical system.
States are considered the main actors in international relations.
2. States-Centrism and National Interest
States are the central focus of realism, and their behavior is driven by self-interest and power maximization.
National interest is defined in terms of power, and it determines foreign policy.
Realists distinguish between vital and non-vital national interests, with vital interests being non-negotiable and potentially leading to war if threatened.
3. Security Maximization and Self-Help
In an anarchical international order, states prioritize their survival and security.
States rely on a self-help system and are generally not inclined to help others without profit or increased security.
States are alone in this anarchical world and struggle for their security and survival.
4. Lack of International Support
States in the international order often face vulnerability and limited support during times of crisis.
The example of France during World War II illustrates the lack of consolidated support from other countries, leading to its defeat by Germany.
States rely on self-help and power maximization to enhance their security in the anarchical system.
5. Role of Ethics and Morality
Realists downplay the significance of ethics and morality in international relations.
Power maximization takes precedence over ethics and morality.
According to Machiavelli, leaders should not prioritize ethics and morality in dealing with other states, but rather focus on strategies to defeat enemies.
Early Historical Realist
1. Ancient Scholars in Realism
Realist school of thought finds its origins in the work of ancient scholars like Thucydides, Sun Tzu, and Kautilya.
Thucydides, a Greek historian, analyzed the Peloponnesian War and attributed conflicts to the unequal distribution of power among states.
Sun Tzu, an ancient Chinese scholar, emphasized the importance of using military strength and pragmatism in dealing with adversaries.
Kautilya, an ancient Indian scholar, discussed power, happiness, and foreign policy. He emphasized the judicious use of power for achieving happiness and advocated continuous warfare to increase power and become a global hegemon.
2. Thucydides' Analysis
Thucydides argued that conflicts and competition between states stem from the unequal distribution of power.
States should acknowledge this reality and strive to improve their position in the global power hierarchy.
Becoming more powerful leads to greater security, independence, and potentially hegemonic status.
3. Sun Tzu's Views
Sun Tzu believed that leaders should not be overly moralistic when dealing with armed adversaries.
Fighting with full force to protect one's interests and ensure survival was emphasized.
4. Kautilya's Contributions
Kautilya emphasized the relationship between power, happiness, and successful foreign policy.
Happiness is achieved through the judicious use of power, righteousness, and internal stability.
Kautilya's Mandala theory focused on the interactions between righteous kings, enemy kings, and their respective allies.
He emphasized the importance of increasing power and engaging in continuous warfare to become a "Sarvabhauma" (ruler of the entire earth).
Kautilya's ideas glorified the use of violence to achieve power and grandeur in international relations.
Later Historical Realist
1. Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, an Italian thinker and writer, contributed to the understanding of realism in his work "The Prince" (1513).
He emphasized the role of the prince, nation-states, and diplomacy in international relations.
Machiavelli argued that the prince should be both courageous like a lion and cunning like a fox.
The prince should be strong, crafty, and suppress any potential revolt in the domestic arena.
Machiavelli believed that norms, morality, and religion should be used by the prince to control and manipulate the general masses.
Power consolidation in domestic politics was seen as a prerequisite for establishing power and position in international relations.
2. Thomas Hobbes
Hobbes, an English political philosopher, presented his ideas in his work "Leviathan" (1651).
He visualized the state of nature for human beings, assuming equality, self-interest, and competition as key factors.
According to Hobbes, the result of these conditions was a war of all against all, with individuals competing for resources and power.
The continuous struggle led to a solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short life for individuals.
Hobbes argued that human nature drives people to quarrel, wage war, and compete for resources and glory.
He envisioned an anarchical international order that required a powerful "leviathan" or hegemon to stabilize the global order.
Hobbes' ideas influenced the understanding of realism and highlighted the importance of anarchy and hierarchy in society.
Classical realists acknowledge the reality of international relations as being characterized by security concerns, power struggles, and conflicts among states.
They argue that while the idea of creating a peaceful world order may be appealing, it is not feasible or attainable given the nature of international relations.
E.H. Carr, an American realist scholar, emphasizes the strength of existing forces and tendencies, suggesting that wisdom lies in accepting and adapting to these realities.
Karl von Clausewitz, a German strategist, famously stated that "war is a continuation of politics by other means," implying that conflict and power dynamics are inherent in international politics.
Classical realists place significant emphasis on the role of the state as the dominant actor in world affairs and prioritize the politics of great powers.
They criticize the utopian assumptions of liberals, particularly during times of global conflict like World Wars.
Contribution of E.H. Carr
E.H. Carr's Views
E.H. Carr, a British historian and journalist, distinguished between realism and utopianism in his work "The Twenty Years' Crisis" (1939).
Carr believed that history is a sequence of cause and effect that can be understood through intellectual efforts, not just vainglory.
He argued that theory is not the creator of political action (praxis), but it is created by politics itself.
According to Carr, politics is not determined by ethics or morality; rather, ethics and morality are shaped by politics, and power is the driving force in international relations.
Carr criticized utopians who focused on ideals of "what ought to be" and relied on imaginative solutions for achieving a peaceful world.
Utopians believed that international organizations like the League of Nations could bring about peace, but Carr argued that such ideas were unrealistic.
Carr pointed to the failure of the League of Nations and the Treaty of Versailles as contributing factors to the outbreak of the Second World War.
He provided examples of the League of Nations' inaction during the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931 and Italy's attack on Abyssinia in 1935, highlighting its inability to prevent war and maintain peace.
Contribution of Hans J.Morgenthau
1. Hans J. Morgenthau's Contributions
Morgenthau's work, "Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace" (1948), is considered a classic in the field of international relations.
He aimed to establish a scientific and positivist approach to studying international politics, based on objective laws and empirical observation.
Morgenthau emphasized the importance of relating theory to reality, rejecting abstract assumptions and focusing on facts and objectivity.
He advocated for the "balance of power" system as a pragmatic explanation for the power struggles among nation-states, criticizing the liberal concept of "collective security."
Similar to Machiavelli, Morgenthau highlighted the imperfect nature of human beings and argued that world imperfections stem from inherent forces in human nature.
Morgenthau's ideas influenced American foreign policy, and his six principles of realism succinctly capture the foundations of realpolitik.
2. Six Principles of Realism by Morgenthau
i. Politics is governed by objective laws rooted in unchanging human nature, providing a rational understanding of the discipline.
ii. Power and interest are key concepts that make international relations independent from other disciplines, with politics as an autonomous domain.
iii. Interest is defined in terms of power, and power is universally valid and crucial for securing national interests.
iv. Political realism does not consider the moral significance of political action, as nations prioritize their own national interest over morality.
v. Universal moral laws do not guide the behavior of states in international relations, and nations may use moral rhetoric to advance their own interests.
vi. Politics is autonomous from ethics, economics, and universal laws, with power, rationality, and national interest shaping international politics.
1. Behavioralist Critique
Behavioralist scholars argued that classical realism lacked coherence as a single theory and did not meet the standards of scientific investigation.
2. Lack of Precision
Critics contended that political realism provided bleak and imprecise opinions on concepts like balance of power, national interest, and deterrence.
3. Inadequate Analysis and Systemic Study
Realism was seen as failing to factually analyze and systematically study international relations, and it struggled to address real-world questions such as national security and military arms.
4. Insufficient Evaluation of Power
Realist scholars were criticized for their inability to evaluate the concept of power, particularly in terms of determining how much power is sufficient for the security and survival of nation-states. They were also seen as giving less importance to factors beyond power politics among nations.
J. Ann Tickner's Criticism of Morgenthau
Feminist scholar J. Ann Tickner criticizes the foundational principles of Morgenthau's political realism:
1. Gender Bias in Morgenthau's Theory
Tickner argues that Morgenthau's theory of realism is based on masculinity and exhibits gender bias. His understanding of human nature as universally self-centered and power-seeking is incomplete and excludes women and feminine attributes from the conceptual framework of political realism.
2. Neglect of the Female Domain
Tickner criticizes the glorification of war in political realism, which she sees as promoting masculine power and neglecting the female domain. She contends that Morgenthau's focus is solely on a political man who is rational and prudent but not moral, while neglecting the ethical dimensions of international politics associated with feminine virtues.
3. Patriarchal Perspective
Tickner asserts that the principles of political realism and the foundational theory in international relations reflect a patriarchal perspective. She argues that the discipline has become unreceptive to women, as its assumptions, prescriptions, descriptions, and perspective are masculine, providing a comfort zone for men but being inhospitable to women.
4. Disproportionate Dominance of Security Studies
Tickner highlights the disproportionate dominance of military security in the field of security studies, which marginalizes women. Women are often associated with soft study areas like gender studies, political economy, and environmental studies, while mainstream security studies focused on the use of force or the threat of force lack female representation.
5. Biased Theorization
Tickner criticizes biased theorization in society, where military security is privileged over other forms of security, the state is privileged over society, instrumentality is privileged over process, and rationality is privileged over ethics and morality. This biased approach hampers the inclusion and recognition of women in the field.
B. Neo-Realism/ Structural realism
Neo-Realism or Structural Realism in international relations is considered a mainstream or foundational theory.
1. Anarchy and Systemic Constraints
Neo-realists believe that the international political system is inherently anarchic, meaning there is no central authority governing interactions between states. The behavioral dynamics of states are shaped by the systemic constraints imposed by this anarchic structure.
2. Survival and Relative Security
In an anarchic international system, states prioritize their survival and relative security. Due to the absence of a higher authority, states must rely on self-help measures to ensure their survival and protect their interests.
3. Accumulation of Power
Neo-realists argue that states need to accumulate power in order to thrive in the anarchic system. Power is seen as a means to maintain security and influence outcomes in international relations.
Neo-realism emphasizes the significance of the state as the dominant and central actor in international relations. States are viewed as the primary units of analysis, and their actions and interests shape the dynamics of the international system.
Prominent scholars associated with neo-realism include Kenneth N. Waltz, John Mearsheimer, Joseph Grieco, and Stephen Walt, among others. These scholars have made significant contributions to the development and refinement of neo-realist theories.
Contribution Kenneth N. Waltz
Kenneth N. Waltz's Contribution to Neo-Realism
1. 'Theory of International Politics'
In his influential work, 'Theory of International Politics' published in 1979, Waltz laid the foundation for neo-realism. He proposed that state actions can be explained by systemic pressures that limit their choices.
2. Perpetual Anarchy
Waltz argues that the international system exists in a state of perpetual anarchy, where there is no central authority governing states' behavior. He distinguishes this anarchic international order from the hierarchical order found in domestic regimes.
3. Anarchy versus Hierarchy
In domestic regimes, a central agency exists to regulate the behavior of individuals through norms, rules, and punishments. However, in the international system, there is an absence of a powerful central or universal authority, resulting in anarchy. States must ensure their own security or risk falling behind.
4. Security Maximization
According to Waltz, states are security maximizers. Their primary concern is to ensure their survival in the anarchic international system. They seek to maximize their security through the pursuit of relative power or gain.
C. Liberalism/ Neo-liberalism
1. Variations within Liberalism
There are different liberal viewpoints that depend on varying understandings of freedom of choice, expression, opportunity, and human progress. Despite these variations, liberals converge on the basic assumption of individual liberty.
2. Rational Actors
Liberals believe that humans are self-interested and rational actors. They make rational choices based on cost-benefit analysis to achieve their interests. Cooperation is pursued when it leads to greater benefits.
3. Influence and Criticism
Liberalism has been influential among intellectuals and policymakers, despite criticism from other theories such as Realism, Social Constructivism, and Marxism.
4. Fractures within Liberal Tradition
There are fractures within the liberal tradition, with different interpretations and associations with the term "liberal." The liberal tradition encompasses various viewpoints, leading to different understandings.
5. Liberalism's Divisions
The liberal thought is divided between the political right and left. The political right advocates for limited state intervention, emphasizing individual economic liberty. The political left supports a more interventionist state to address economic power concentration and ensure equality.
6. Coherent School of Thought
Despite variations, liberalism is considered a coherent school of thought, encompassing principles of liberty, equality, and justice. Liberal philosophy extends to both domestic political governance and the international realm of state behavior in conflicts and cooperation.
7. Overarching Reach
Liberal philosophy has far-reaching implications, extending to economic organization, individual rights, political governance, and international relations. Liberalism and capitalism are closely interrelated, often used together to represent similar ideas.
8. Two Strands of Liberalism
Liberalism can be examined in terms of economic history and political history. Economists and political philosophers have contributed to liberalism, but the foundation remains individual liberty and individualism.
History of Origin
Historical Background of Liberalism
1. Interdependence of Economic and Political Traditions
Liberalism stems from both economic and political intellectual traditions, which are interdependent rather than exclusive to each other.
2. Growth during the Age of Enlightenment
The notion of liberty and liberal values saw significant growth during the Age of Enlightenment in Europe.
3. Shift to Capitalism
During the 18th and 19th centuries, European society transitioned from feudalism to capitalism, which reflects liberal values such as private ownership, liberalization, and the free market.
4. Economic Liberalism
Economic liberalism is based on private property, the free market, and limited government. Individualism is a centerpiece of liberalism, emphasizing new relationships between the state and individuals. The role of government is limited, and the self-regulating market is valued.
5. Influence of Adam Smith and David Ricardo
Adam Smith and David Ricardo contributed to economic liberalism. They argued that private property incentivizes productivity and that a free market leads to higher production, wealth, and a higher quality of life. While the government's role is limited, it is necessary for maintaining social order, fair competition, and contract enforcement.
6. International Economic System
Liberal economic policies extend to the international economic system, advocating for free trade and the efficient allocation of resources. Ricardo's theory of comparative advantage is relevant to explain the importance of international trade in the modern globalized era.
7. Contributions of Montesquieu, Bentham, and Mill
Montesquieu introduced the concept of separation of powers to ensure liberty, while Bentham emphasized utility and rational self-interest in political theory. Mill's work on liberty emphasized individual freedom and the limitation of power when it harms the liberty of others.
8. Complementary Nature of Economic and Political Liberalism
Economic liberalism and political liberalism are not separate or exclusive from each other. They complement each other, as both are based on the concept of liberty and extend to economic and political life.
Old and New Liberalism
Transition from Old Liberalism to New Liberalism
1. Classical Liberalism and its Foundational Thinkers
Classical liberalism, represented by philosophers like John Locke, Adam Smith, Ricardo, Bentham, and J.S. Mill, emphasized private property and the market economy as integral to individual liberty.
European powers and the United States played a significant role in spreading liberal ideas worldwide during the Enlightenment period and imperialist expansion.
2. Relationship Between Liberalism and Capitalism
Liberalism and capitalism have a mutual relationship but are not identical. Capitalism reflects liberal values, but liberalism encompasses both economic and political philosophy.
3. Importance of Private Property
Old liberalism highlighted the importance of private property for protecting individual liberty from state encroachment. It advocated for limited government intervention.
4. Emergence of New Liberalism
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the market-based order was challenged, leading to a revision of liberalism known as new liberalism.
The destabilizing effects of World War I and economic crises prompted reexamination of underlying liberal assumptions.
5. Increased Role of the State
New liberalism marked a departure from the limited role of the state in classical liberalism.
The state's involvement in economic life, particularly through welfare programs, was seen as necessary to stabilize the market and promote liberal values.
6. Influence of John Maynard Keynes
John Maynard Keynes advocated for state intervention to address unemployment and economic issues through fiscal and monetary policies.
7. Focus on Social Justice and Inequality
New liberalism recognized the potential inequality arising from property rights and emphasized the concept of social justice.
Thinkers like John Rawls argued for a just society that provides the greatest advantage to the least advantaged groups, aiming to address social and economic inequality.
Liberalism & IR Relations
Globalization and multiculturalism have led to a common understanding that a state's activities abroad strongly influence its domestic politics and the international political economy.
Militarization and securitization of national interest can lead to increased military power, which may be used against a state's own citizens and infringe on their rights and liberty.
Liberalism emphasizes the importance of individual freedom, free markets, and trade in international relations.
The democratic peace theory posits that liberal democratic countries tend to avoid going to war because it is costly and conflicts with the principles of rationality and utility.
Liberal institutionalism emphasizes the role of international institutions such as multinational corporations, the IMF, the EU, and the WTO in facilitating cooperation, avoiding conflicts, and promoting economic interdependence.
The liberal world order is structured by international institutions and norms that aim to restrain the violent power of states and promote international cooperation, human rights, and a rules-based order.
International liberal norms favor international cooperation, market economy, human rights, and adherence to the rules-based order.
Compliance with international liberal norms can have functional utility in terms of security, productivity, and progress.
There are international laws prohibiting acts of aggression, and states breaking these laws risk considerable international backlash.
Compliance with international liberal norms can lead to support for enterprises, productivity, and progress, contributing to the replication of liberal values across the globe.
Main Assumptions in Liberalism
Liberalism is an economic and political philosophy that is widely accepted today, despite its evolving and varied structure of arguments.
Liberalism is based on the underlying assumptions that human nature is not necessarily bad, individuals have the capacity to change and cooperate, and individualism is important for the development of individuals.
Liberty is a fundamental principle of liberalism, and individual liberty is seen as the foundation for achieving desirable outcomes.
Liberalism supports property rights, privatization, and liberalization of the market, as they stimulate productivity and growth.
The rule of law is important in liberalism to protect and ensure the exercise of liberty and property rights, enforce contracts, ensure fair competition, remove corruption, and provide political stability.
Rationalism is a key theme in liberalism, as individuals are seen as rational actors who make cost-benefit analyses and cooperate for better outcomes.
Liberalism advocates for a free market and free trade, as it believes that liberal values are best upheld when the market is free from state regulation.
Cooperation is emphasized in liberalism, as liberals believe in the harmony of interests among individuals and the importance of international cooperation facilitated by institutions.
Liberalism argues that domestic politics and international politics are interconnected, and the liberty of people in their home country can be affected by external international activities.
In the era of globalization, liberalism recognizes the importance of interdependence, multiculturalism, pluralism, and internationalism in shaping relationships beyond national boundaries.
D. Marxism & Neo-Marxism
1. Marxist Critique of Liberalism and the Free Market System
Marxists challenge the liberal economic perspective and the idea of the "invisible hand" in the free market system.
They argue that the market forces are dominated by the bourgeoisie, resulting in exploitation and economic inequalities.
Marxists perceive a law of disproportionality and concentration of capital, restricting it to the hands of a few and causing economic slowdown.
2. State as an Instrument of Exploitation
Marxists view the state as an instrument of exploitation by the dominant class, making the rich richer and the powerful more powerful.
They criticize international financial regimes for promoting liberalization, privatization, and globalization, which they argue benefit the elites at the cost of workers.
3. Class Struggle and Exploitation
Marxism emphasizes the class struggle between the bourgeoisie (economic elites) and proletariats (working class).
Economic elites manipulate and exploit workers, using state institutions and international political and economic laws for their benefit.
4. Imperialism and Colonialism
Marxism sees colonialism as historically important in establishing capitalism globally and justifying private property.
The theory of imperialism is part of monopoly capitalism dynamics, with the thrust on non-capitalist countries in the periphery.
5. Socialist Revolution and the Aim of Communism
Marxists aim to end exploitation and economic divisions between capitalists and workers through revolution.
The communist system envisions a classless society, nationalization of means of production, and equal treatment of individuals.
6. Statelessness and World Peace
Marxists argue that achieving world peace requires ending the state system and transitioning to a communist society.
7. Peasantry and Modern Classes
Marx considered the bourgeoisie and proletariat as the main classes, with the peasantry as a traditional class lacking class consciousness.
8. Transformation to a Communist Society
Private property plays a crucial role in transforming traditional classes into a capitalist class.
The final transformation leads to the creation of a communist society, where the state system is eliminated.
Marxism in IR
1. Influence of Marx and Engels on Imperialism Theory
Parkinson argues that most theories regarding imperialism have emerged from the thoughts of Marx and his disciples.
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, pioneers of scientific socialism, influenced the understanding of imperialism.
Common assumptions shared by scientific socialists and early capitalist thinkers such as Adam Smith and David Ricardo include the importance of a homogeneous world market and the state serving the interests of the ruling class.
2. Contradictions in Capitalism and Dialectical Materialism
Scientific socialists find internal contradictions in the capitalist mode of production and the theory of comparative advantage.
Capitalism is seen as based on social and economic inequality, the law of disproportionality, falling profit rates, and class struggle.
Scientific socialists believe that capitalism contains the seeds of its own destruction, and the state will wither away as well.
3. Centre-Periphery Model and Dependency Theory
Scholars like A.G. Frank, Immanuel Wallerstein, and dependency theorists highlight the hegemony and dominance of the developed world over the developing world.
Capitalism's search for outlets abroad, driven by inadequate domestic demand, can lead to imperialism and the use of force if necessary.
4. Reformist and Revolutionist Perspectives
Two categories of thought emerged within Marxism regarding imperialism: reformist and revolutionist.
Reformist thinkers include Karl Kautsky and Joseph Schumpeter, who focus on gradual changes within the capitalist system.
Revolutionist thinkers include Rosa Luxemburg, N.I. Bukharin, and Lenin, who argue for the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism.
5. Lenin's Concept of Imperialism
Lenin's work "Imperialism as the Highest Stage of Capitalism" (1916) highlights imperialism as an inevitable consequence of capitalism.
Lenin emphasizes the unequal distribution of wealth, limited resources, and economic tensions at the global level caused by imperialism.
Marxist Approach to IR
Marxist Analysis of the Social World
Marxists emphasize analyzing the social world in its entirety, unlike realism and liberalism.
Realist scholar Kenneth Waltz considers Marxism as a "second image" of international relations, as it focuses on societal structures and class struggles.
Marxists argue that the establishment of a socialist regime would prevent interstate struggles, contrasting with realist views.
Octopus Model of Capitalist Supremacy
Marxists perceive the basic image of world politics as the octopus model, where capitalist powers dominate the entire world system.
According to this view, capitalist powers have captured and control the global system.
Four Strands of Marxist Contribution in the Discipline
1. World System Theory World system theory, influenced by Marxist thinking, provides an analytical framework for understanding the global system as an interconnected whole. It emphasizes the examination of economic relations and structural inequalities among nations. The theory categorizes nations into three main groups: the core, the periphery, and the semi-periphery.
Core countries: These are dominant capitalist powers that control advanced technologies, finance, and markets. They typically exploit the periphery and semi-periphery for resources, cheap labor, and markets.
Periphery countries: These are often former colonies or less developed nations that provide raw materials, agricultural products, and labor to the core. They tend to face economic exploitation, dependency, and underdevelopment.
Semi-periphery countries: Positioned between the core and periphery, these nations possess characteristics of both. They may have some industrialization and economic diversification but still face exploitation from the core while attempting to exploit the periphery.
World system theorists argue that the capitalist world system is marked by unequal power relations and dependency, perpetuating global inequalities. They highlight the importance of understanding the dynamics of the global economy in shaping international relations.
Gramscianism draws inspiration from the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci's ideas on cultural hegemony and the role of ideas in shaping social and political systems. Gramsci emphasized that the ruling classes maintain dominance not only through coercion but also through ideological control and consent. In the field of international relations, Gramscian scholars explore how ideas, norms, and cultural practices influence power relations and shape international institutions and policies. They analyze how dominant powers establish and maintain their hegemony by disseminating their values, ideologies, and worldviews globally. Gramscian analysis highlights the importance of understanding discourses, identities, and the contestation of ideas in the international arena.
3. Critical Theory
Critical theory, influenced by Marxist philosophy, seeks to critically analyze social structures, power relations, and systems of oppression. It aims to uncover and challenge the underlying assumptions and mechanisms that perpetuate inequality and injustice in society.
In the context of international relations, critical theorists examine how power operates in the global arena, focusing on issues such as imperialism, capitalism, colonialism, and neocolonialism. They scrutinize the impact of dominant actors and institutions, and critique unequal economic relations, exploitation, and social hierarchies. Critical theorists aim to generate insights that can contribute to transformative change and emancipation from oppressive structures.
4. New Marxism
New Marxism encompasses various contemporary approaches that integrate Marxist insights with other perspectives, such as poststructuralism, feminism, and postcolonialism. This strand acknowledges the limitations of traditional Marxist theory and seeks to address its blind spots.
New Marxists examine the complexities of contemporary global dynamics, including issues such as identity politics, gender, race, and postcolonial relations. They explore how capitalist systems intersect with other systems of power and domination, shedding light on the ways in which class, gender, and race intersect to shape global inequalities. New Marxism aims to adapt Marxist theory to contemporary realities and incorporate diverse perspectives to enrich the analysis of international relations.
Waves of Feminism and IR
1. First Wave Feminism
Occurred in the 19th century, primarily focused on suffrage, education, and access to public offices.
Advocated for women's political rights and aimed to bring women into the public sphere.
Key objective: Achieving legal and political equality for women.
2. Second Wave Feminism
Emerged in the 1960s and continued into the 90s, linked with civil rights and anti-war movements.
Highlighted that personal experiences and issues, such as sexuality, domestic labor, and childcare, are political and institutionalized.
Emphasized the concept of "the personal is political" and demanded equality in all aspects of women's lives.
Key objective: Challenging gender norms, addressing structural inequalities, and promoting women's rights.
3. Third Wave Feminism
Began in the 1990s as a response to perceived failures and limitations of the second wave.
Acknowledged intersectionality and the importance of recognizing differences and diverse experiences based on race, class, sexuality, and postcolonial perspectives.
Focused on embracing diversity, pluralism, and multiple voices within feminism.
Key objective : Advocating for the rights and experiences of marginalized women and addressing intersecting forms of oppression.
4. Fourth Wave Feminism
A recent development facilitated by the use of the internet and social media platforms.
Utilizes online platforms for activism, mobilization, and sharing information.
Places emphasis on resistance, demanding equal rights, and challenging patriarchal structures.
Key objective: Harnessing the power of social media to amplify feminist voices and advocate for gender equality.
Common Insights Across Waves
Gender matters in understanding international relations.
Gender is an organizing principle, with women often situated at the bottom of power structures.
Highlighted gender inequalities in terms of work, wages, public participation, and the division of labor.
Emphasized the need to address and challenge gender-based discrimination and oppression.
Early Feminist IR Scholars
1. Jean Bethke Elshtain
Elshtain emphasized the role of gender in shaping international relations, particularly in relation to war.
Her book "Women and War" examined how gendered categorizations of femininity and masculinity inform power dynamics in war.
Criticized the assumption that women are solely victims and men are protectors, challenging the dominant symbols associated with gender in the context of war.
2. Cynthia Enloe
Enloe highlighted the invisibility of women in international relations and sought to bring attention to their roles.
Her book "Bananas, Beaches, and Bases" explored the diverse experiences of women within the global landscape dominated by men.
Shed light on the contributions of women in various roles, such as diplomats' wives, domestic workers, and garment workers, and their impact on international politics.
3. J. Ann Tickner
Tickner critiqued the gender biases present in international relations theories, particularly realism.
Highlighted the marginalization of women in foreign policy-making and the association of certain activities with masculinity.
Argued for the inclusion of feminist perspectives, challenging the gender-blindness of mainstream IR theories.
Types of IR in Feminism
1. Difference Feminism
Recognizes and values the differences between men and women, whether they arise from cultural practices or biological factors.
Emphasizes that these differences should not lead to value judgments or hierarchies but should be acknowledged and respected.
Highlights the unique contributions and perspectives that women bring to the political sphere, stemming from their socialization and experiences.
2. Liberal Feminism
Challenges the exclusion of women from positions of power and advocates for their inclusion in all aspects of international relations.
Seeks equality between men and women, aiming to dismantle gender-based discrimination and biases.
Calls for women's participation in traditionally male-dominated fields such as politics, military, and economy.
3. Postmodern Feminism
Rejects the idea of essential, fixed, or universal categories of "women" or "femininity."
Emphasizes that gender is socially and culturally constructed, varying across different contexts and societies.
Critiques the notion of a single, authentic women's experience or standpoint and instead highlights the diverse and multiple perspectives that women hold.
Feminist scholars aim to rewrite the history of International Relations (IR) and redefine core concepts to encompass women and marginalized sections.
Mainstream IR theories are state-centric and masculine in nature, excluding women and perpetuating gendered power relations.
1. State and Power
The state is a gendered institution, predominantly led by men in decision-making roles.
Women are often invisible and excluded from statecraft, and the state's actions affect women differently.
Masculinity is associated with the state, as evidenced by higher spending on defense and less on social security and healthcare.
2. Conflict and Violence
Feminists highlight the link between militarism, state violence, and the perpetuation of male dominance.
The military-industrial complex reinforces masculinity and structural violence.
Sexual violence is a significant aspect of women's experiences in war, often overlooked in mainstream IR theories.
3. War and Peace
Feminists challenge the militarized concept of security and advocate for a broader understanding of peace.
Women's perspectives on peace focus on social, economic, and human security, contrasting with traditional notions of militarized security.
Women's roles as caregivers and their experiences of maternity contribute to their distinct approach to peace.
4. National Security
National security is often linked to military power, reflecting a masculine view of security.
Feminists critique the essentializing of women as pacifists and advocate for the inclusion of women in national security projects.
The focus on militarized security undermines human security and neglects women's experiences.
5. Identity and Construction of Knowledge
Feminist scholars explore the social construction of gender identities and their impact on power relations.
Intersectionality is essential in understanding how gender, race, class, sexuality, and disability intersect to shape identities and experiences.
Western conceptualizations of the nation-state system neglect women's lived experiences and suppress marginalized voices.
6. Institutions and World Order
Feminists analyze the gendered division of labor in the international economy, highlighting inequalities and the invisibility of women's work.
International organizations are gradually recognizing gender issues, but gender transformation is still needed.
Gender inequality pervades societal, national, and international levels and requires policy changes for greater gender equity.
Women-centered focus: Critics argue that feminist IR scholarship places excessive emphasis on women, often neglecting the study of men and masculinity as subjects of analysis.
Lack of attention to men and masculinity: It is suggested that equal attention should be given to studying men and masculinity, including the harmful effects of toxic masculinity and societal expectations imposed on men.
Expanded focus: Contemporary feminist IR scholars like Tickner recognize the importance of studying both femininity and masculinity. They explore how gender roles and expectations affect both women and men in international politics.
Intersectionality and alternative knowledge: Feminist scholars are increasingly working on intersectionality, examining the complex intersections of gender with race, class, sexuality, and other identities. They also explore alternative forms of knowledge, such as indigenous knowledge traditions.
No unified theory: Critics contend that feminist IR scholarship lacks a comprehensive theory of its own, unlike traditional IR theories like Liberalism and Realism. It is seen as a meta-theory, offering critical perspectives on existing theories without providing a coherent account of international relations.
Multiple feminist paradigms: Feminist IR scholarship comprises several strands of feminism rather than a single unified paradigm. The feminist community argues against reducing multiple realities into a single theory.
Diversity of women's experiences: Feminist IR scholars face challenges due to the assumption of a universal category of womanhood. Women's experiences vary across societies, cultures, and contexts, and Western feminism is critiqued for not adequately addressing the experiences of women in non-Western societies.
Eurocentrism and its Critics
1. Introduction Eurocentrism in International Relations
Eurocentrism refers to the Western-centric perspective in which the Western model is considered superior to the rest of the world.
It perpetuates the hegemonic nature of a particular system, leading to a biased 'self' versus 'other' distinction.
2. Emergence of Eurocentrism
Eurocentrism originated during the Spanish colonization of the Americas and was further reinforced during the European Enlightenment.
European identity was forged through a combination of historical events like the Renaissance, Reformation, and rise of the state system.
3. Dominance of the West in International Relations
Eurocentrism in International Relations focuses on Western experiences, conceptualization of theories, and the applicability of grand theories to the West.
Western history is equated with the history of the world, and Western experiences are considered universal.
4. Explanations for the Dominance of the West in International Relations
a) Universalism: Western International Relations theories are considered universal and independent of cultural context.
b) Hegemonic status: Western IR theories have achieved hegemonic status, unconsciously influencing non-Western perspectives.
c) Hidden non-Western IR theories: Non-Western IR theories exist but remain hidden due to language, cultural, and institutional barriers.
d) Local conditions: Various historical, cultural, political, and institutional conditions hinder the production of non-Western IR theory.
e) Time and resources: The West has a head start, but catching up is possible with adequate resources and time.
5. Eurocentrism and Epistemological Bias
Eurocentrism, including positivism and empiricism, forms the foundation of theorizing in International Relations.
Eurocentrism's influence on the concept of the modern state and sovereignty is deeply embedded and disregards non-Western contributions.
7. Critique of Eurocentrism in International Relations
Eurocentric historicism denies alternative modes of temporality and perpetuates a universalizing narrative of modernity.
Ignoring the history of state formation processes outside Europe legitimizes the "civilizing mission" of colonialism.
IR beyond the West: Alternative Readings
Shifting the Focus: Beyond Universal Formulations
Challenging Eurocentricity: Engaging with the possibility of imagining IR beyond the West requires challenging Eurocentric perspectives and historiographies.
Searching for Different Answers: Instead of seeking universal answers, it is important to ask different questions and search for answers in different places.
Recognizing Multiple Imaginaries: Moving beyond the idea of the sovereign state, it is crucial to recognize the possibility of different imaginaries of political authority and degrees of stateless.
Shaped by Diverse Histories: These imaginaries are shaped by diverse histories of state formation and influenced by various political, social, economic, and cultural forces.
Decolonizing the Origin of IR: Uncovering Alternate Origins
Challenging Eurocentric Historiographies: Scholars like Davis, Thakur, and Vale seek to challenge Eurocentric historiographies and uncover alternate origins of the discipline of IR.
Tracing the Round Table: The Round Table, a network formed by British imperial societies in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and India, played a significant role in the founding of IR.
Imperial Governance and Racial Thought: The Round Table aimed at more efficient imperial governance and was intertwined with imperial racial thought.
Placing the Global South: While seeking to place the empire in a position of controlling world affairs, the efforts of the Round Table also placed the Global South in an important position in the founding of IR.
Decolonial Perspective: Adopting a decolonial perspective allows for the exploration of alternate realities and possibilities that are often hidden.
Global South Perspective: Regional theories
1. Global South: Definition and Context
Overview of the regions included in the Global South
Relationship to terms like "Third World" and "Periphery"
Shifting focus towards geopolitical power
2. Historical Context and Inequalities
Historical factors contributing to large inequalities in living standards and resources
Impact of colonialism, neo-imperialism, and differential economic and social change
3. Challenges to Westphalian Notions of Sovereignty
Critiques of the Westphalian notion of sovereignty from the Global South
Search for alternate conceptions of state, sovereignty, world order, and justice
4. India: Theorizing State, Suzerainty, and Order
Overview of Benoy Kumar Sarkar's conception of sovereignty in early Hindu political theory
Analysis of the doctrine of mandala and its relation to balance of power
Notions of state, nation, and sovereignty in ancient Indian history
5. Perspectives on Order and Justice in Indian Discourse
Theorists like Benoy Kumar Sarkar have explored early Hindu political theories, emphasizing the conception of sovereignty and the importance of self-independence for state authority.
Sarkar's analysis of the doctrine of mandala suggests the presence of a balance of power and the influence of geographical distribution on state relations.
The Hindu theory of sovereignty extends beyond the idea of a universal balance of power and promotes the establishment of world domination and universal peace.
Indian conceptions of order and justice in international relations can be categorized into four perspectives: Nehruvian internationalism, Gandhian cosmopolitanism, political Hinduism or Hindutva, and neoliberal globalism.
Each perspective offers different insights into the nature of political authority, the role of violence, the importance of morality, and the relationship between individual, community, and state.
Tensions arise between these perspectives and the traditional Westphalian notion of order, particularly regarding economic equality, violence, spirituality, self-restraint, and the balance between national and human security.
Neo-liberal globalists in India advocate for universal standards, international accountability, and the promotion of liberal values and democracy as key components of a stable global order.
6. Early Hindu Political Theories
Sovereignty and self-independence in state authority
Influence of Benoy Kumar Sarkar and the doctrine of mandala
7. Hindu Theory of Sovereignty
Balance of power and geographical distribution
Promotion of world domination and universal peace
8. Perspectives on Order and Justice in Indian Discourse
Nehruvian perspective: Westphalia plus non-alignment
Gandhian perspective: Non-violence, self-regulation, and morality as basis for order
Political Hinduism or Hindutva perspective: Hindu civilization and the role of violence
Neo-liberal perspective: Sovereign states pursuing national interest and interdependence.
9. Africa: Sovereignty, Ubuntu, and Dependency
Western International Relations (IR) theory has been criticized for misrepresenting African reality and perpetuating colonial theoretical hegemony.
Amy Niang examines the pre-colonial pasts of West Africa, particularly the Mossi state, to understand the social structures that sustained African political life.
The Mossi state was built around the ideas of Naam and Tenga, which established political order and shaped social experiences.
These ideas and norms were woven together through rituals and formed mutually binding relationships, creating a sense of social cohesion and resistance.
The post-colonial state, however, reinforced the divide between the state and society and concentrated power solely in the hands of the sovereign, leading to contestations and rejection of the state as a parasitic entity.
The idea of real statehood is often understood from the perspective of the West's civilizing mission, which precludes an understanding of Africa's diverse pre-colonial pasts.
Dependency on external dynamics and lack of indigenous capacity for self-government are attributed to the failure of African states, along with corruption and incompetence.
Ubuntu is a relevant conceptualization in Africa, emphasizing the interconnectedness and interdependence of individuals within a community.
Ubuntu promotes respect, hospitality, reciprocity, and connectedness as ethical tools for creating a sustainable social order.
The notion of ubuntu challenges individualism and highlights a collectivist worldview that considers elements such as equality and justice.
Samir Amin introduced the concept of the "Centre and Periphery" to explain the conditions and production relations of West African states.
Amin distinguished between the auto centric economy, which is self-reliant and focuses on self-sufficiency, and the peripheral economy, which relies on an overdeveloped export sector.
The peripheral economy produces goods for luxury and experiences unequal exchange with the Centre, leading to dependency and the extraction of cheap labor.
10. Latin America: Development and Dependency
Gunder Frank introduced the concept of the "Development of Underdevelopment" in which he argued that the Third World (including Latin America) couldn't follow the same path as the West due to their colonial experiences.
Frank dismissed the internal explanations provided by the modernization school and emphasized the external explanation, stating that underdevelopment in the Third World was a result of colonialism and foreign domination.
A.G. Frank formulated the "metropolis-satellite model" to explain underdevelopment, which highlighted the unequal relationship between the colonizers (metropolis) and the colonies (satellites). The surplus created in the satellites was appropriated by the metropolis, leaving the satellites in poverty.
The local bourgeoisie also contributed to underdevelopment by draining the surplus for internal investment, rather than using it for development, thereby maintaining international inequality.
Dependency theory emphasized the principle of autonomy, which referred to freedom from external control and the capacity of each political community to rule itself.
Dependency was seen as the main obstacle to achieving autonomy, as it depicted the economic subordination of Third World countries to global powers.
Dependency thinking advocated for sovereignty and autonomous development as the path for Third World states, including Latin America, to achieve self-determination and overcome underdevelopment.
11. China: Confucianism and Tributary system
China's alternative vision of world order challenges the Westphalian concept of sovereignty and emphasizes a hierarchical system based on Confucian principles.
The tributary system, practiced by Imperial China, was a hierarchical system of governance based on sovereign equality and values of order, ethics, and elite governance.
Tianxia, meaning "All under Heaven," is a utopian concept that offers an institutional framework for global governance, advocating for a global perspective and inclusive solutions to world problems.
Tianxia carries three interwoven meanings: geographical (the heavens and what is below), normative (inclusive of all people), and as a "world institution" that unites different cultures.
China's magnanimous thought, represented by Tianxia, aims to unite and accommodate "the Other" rather than rejecting differences of race or culture.
Guanxi, a concept emphasizing connections and relationality, offers an alternative framework to the Western emphasis on static and spatial arrangements, promoting active and responsible involvement in global affairs.