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For textbook material and other

sources used in lecture notes,

please check the syllabus!
Key textbooks:
Scott Burchill, Andrew Linklater, Richard Devetak, Jack Donnelly, Matthew Paterson, Christian Reus-
Smit and Jacqui True (2005) Theories of International Relations, Palgrave: Macmillan.

Tim Dunne, Kurki, M. & Smith, S. (2013) (Eds.) International Relations Theories: Discipline and
Diversity. New York, Oxford University Press.

John Baylis, Steve Smith and Patricia Owens ( 7th Edition) The Globalisation of World Politics, Oxford
University Press.
Theories of IR/Current Issues in IR
Week 2: What is IR Theory for?

Dr.Öğr.Üyesi Fulya Memişoğlu

Outline of Lecture
•What is IR theory for?
•Why to study IR theories?
•Great debates in IR theory
•Key transformations in international politics
between 1900-1945
What is IR theory for?
• Analysis of war and conditions of peace
• How are global power relations to be identified and where, and with
whom, does power lie in world politics?
• What role can international institutions play today in changing the
preferences of powerful international actors?
• What are the limits and possibilities of progress in tackling urgent
world political problems, from poverty to the threat or experience of
chronic insecurity, and from terrorism to climate change?
Why do we need theories in IR?
• Theories are systematic explanations that help us to understand
concepts concerning IR
• We need theories to simplify and assess the complex interactions
between the actors of international system
• Theories show us how we perceive, interpret the world events.

Any examples from world politics?

What is IR theory for?
• To make assump*ons and explana*ons about a poli*cal actor’s
• Why former Bri,sh PM Tony Blair supported US President in going to war
against Iraq?
• Each IR theory would present a set of different explana*ons
• Power and security; economic reasons; humanitarian reasons
• ‘In the social world, there is always more than one story to tell’

• Classical/ Neo-varia*ons and debates between classical theories

• Realism vs. Liberalism; neo-realism vs. neo-liberalism; Marxism:
interparadigm debate
What is IR theory for?
• Shared common assumptions:
• Theory is central in understanding/explaining World politics
• A key difference:
• Theories are there to explain a World that is ‘out there’ and
explaining means making sense of it vs. theories ‘constitute’ the
World they are explaining, meaning that theories cannot be
separated from the World
• The relation between theory and reality:
• ‘You cannot change anything in this World’ (positivist)
• ‘Theories follow reality, but they also shape reality’ (non-positivist
What is IR theory for?

•But what is theory?

•And which one do we need to choose? (Or

do we really need to choose one?)
What is IR theory for?
• Theory: ’an abstrac0on of real life, which is organised systema0cally to
explain the World around us’

• ‘Theories simplify the issues, events and helps us to explain these

What is IR theory for?
The philosophy of social science (meta-theory)

• ONTOLOGY: THEORY OF BEING / what is the World made of? What objects
do we study?


knowledge of the World?

• METHODOLOGY: THEORY OF METHODS/ What methods do we use to

unearth data and evidence?
What is IR theory for?
• An explanatory/positivist approach would say ‘theories ….’

• A normative theory would say ‘ theories represent the way the World ought to

• Critical theory would say ‘ we need to have a critical approach to the present,
this would open up alternative paths to change, freedom and human

• Constructivist they would say ‘everything is socially constructed, including

rules, norms, ideas…’
What is IR theory for?

• ‘Great debate in IR’: Rationalist (positivist) vs. reflectivist theories

• Epistemological and methodological differences
• ‘How we know what we claim to know?’
• Foundationalism vs. non-foundationalist approaches: ‘the absence of testable
What is IR theory for?

• ‘Three paradigms’: Realism, Liberalism, Constructivism

• Stephen Walt on reflectivism: ‘because these scholars focused initially on
criticizing the mainstream paradigms but did not offer positive alternatives to
them, they remained a self-consciously dissident minority for most of the
1980s’ (1998: 32).
• Stephen Walt ‘realism is likely to remain the single most useful instrument in
our intellectual toolbox’ (1998: 43).
• Today: Wide range of IR theories
Three great debates in IR (Or Four)
• Idealism- Realism (1920s-1940s)

• Traditionalism- Behavioralism (1950s and 1980s)

• Positivism (established traditions in IR)- Post-positivist

Approaches (mid 1980s)
Three great debates in IR
(1) Idealism- Realism (1920s-1940s)
• Idealism focuses on the possibility of interna5onal
ins5tu5ons , e.g. League of Na5ons
• Realism focuses on the anarchical nature of interna5onal
poli5cs and the need for state survival

• What else do we know about this first debate?

(1) Idealism-Realism
• Realist critique of Idealism: The absence of science, ‘it is a value-
driven and unsystematic approach to IR’
• Both E. H. Carr (1946, 1987) and Hans Morgenthau (1947, 1948a;)
accused the idealists of focusing their attention on how the world
‘ought’ to be, as opposed to dealing with how it objectively was. Carr
famously concluded that the difference between realism and idealism
was analogous to that between science and alchemy
• Realism: ‘international politics was governed by ‘objective laws’
rooted in human nature’ (Morgenthau)
Consequences of WWI

• The first time in history a conflict that involved so many different

countries and peoples; mobilisation of people

• The collapse Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires, Russia

• The urge for a peace settlement

• Treaty of Versailles, 1919
• How to avoid war in the future?
• What to do with Germany and collapsed empires?
• President Wilson’s Fourteen Points
Consequences of WWI
• President Wilson’s Fourteen Points
• A set of principles to shape the subsequent peace
• ‘A new approach to international diplomacy: open covenants rather
than old-style secret diplomacy
• The creation of an international organisations based on the principle
of ‘collective security’à League of Nations
• The principle of national self-determination: the rights of distinct
national groups to govern themselves over their own territoryà
drawing boundaries of the new states of Europe (in the Balkans and
CEECs: Yugoslavia, Rumania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Poland,
• Absolute freedom of navigation in the seas
• Disarmament
• The removal of economic barriers
The League of Nations
• The first institutional attempt to create an international body designed
to mediate disputes with permanent structures and a codified Charter
• Collective security: Any act of aggression towards a member by another
state will receive a ‘collective response’
• Minority Rights Protection System
• The issue of minority rights was a major component of the collective
security regime introduced by the League of Nations
• the first collective attempt of the twentieth century that placed the
rights of minorities on the international agenda.
• the role to monitor implementation of minority rights in certain states
whose minority populations had significantly increased as the borders
were redrawn at the end of World War I.
Inter-War Period: The Collapse of International Economy

• The war severely damaged the globalised world economy

• America slowly taking over Britain’s position in the global economy
• By 1929, the US produced 42 per cent of the world’s industrial
output --- Germany, Britain &France all together 28 percent
• The 1929 Wall Street Crash
- Western Europe’s dependence on American loans worsened the
-Immediate consequences in Europe: hyper-inflation, a collapse of
consumer demand in leading industrial countriesà decline in
manufacturing industryà massive unemployment
(2) Traditionalism vs. Behavioralism
Traditionalists: Behavioralists:
• In understanding IR, values and facts • In understanding, but also explaining
come together IR, we need science
• Normative questions, ethical • They focus on observable facts, they
questions and moral issues are need to collect data. They separate
important facts from values
• History is important • Values cannot be used to explain
international phenomenon
• There is only one right or one
mistake (David Singer, Morton Kaplan)

Positivism: Data collection, Measurement, Hypothesis testing, statistical analysis

(3)Interparadigm debate: Realism- Liberalism-
Marxism (1970s-1980s)
• Interparadigm debate: Focusing on different aspects of international
• Realism: Bipolar structure of the international system, the Cold
• Liberalism: International economic relations between the leading
capitalist economies
• Marxism: patterns of international trade, global economic
(4) Posi)vism vs. Post-posi)vism

’ What should IR study, and how should it be studied’?

-- A debate between explaining and describing

--- A debate between positivism and post-positivism
--- A debate between rationalism and reflectivism
(4) Positivism vs. Post-positivism
Positivism : Post-positivism:
• ‘Systematic observation’ • Social reality is subjective, dynamic
• Positivism tries to explain social and cannot be independent from the
reality: which is independent, society.
objective and static. We cannot • There is an interaction between social
change it reality and researcher.
• There is no interaction between social • We cannot produce objective and
reality and society general theory to explain the reality.
• We need to develop an objective and Reality is theory dependent
universal theory
• Idealists and liberals adopt positivism
Positivism vs. Post-positivism
(ontology and epistemology)

• is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of existence
• Refers to the nature of social reality
• Helps us to understand the nature of social world
• Is there an objective social reality independent from us
*ontology: varlık felsefesi
Positivism vs. Post-positivism
(ontology and epistemology)

• How can we obtain knowledge about the social world?
• What is knowledge?
• How is knowledge acquired?
• What do people know?
• How do we know what we know?

*epistemology: bilgi felsefesi

Theories of IR/Current Issues in IR
Week 3: Realism, Neo-Realism
Key features of the world in 1900
• European states dominate the global patterns of international relations
• 1 in 4 of the world’s population lives in Europe (approximately 400 million /1.6 billion)
• The European ‘great powers’ (Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Austria-Hungary, and
Russia) are the largest military and economic powers
• Colonial empires of European states (France, Britain, Belgium, Portugal, Netherlands)
• Approximately 500 million people live under European colonial rule
• Search for colonies continued, especially Germany in Africa; Russia in Asia
Key features of the world in 1900
• Disintegration of multi-ethnic empires
• The Habsburg Empire (covering Austro-Hungary, most of Central Europe and the Balkans)
• The Ottoman Empire (today’s Turkey, most parts of the Middle East, and the Balkans)
• Tsarist Russia
• Imperial China
• Global Capitalist Economy
• The United Kingdom: the largest imperial and trading power
• Rapid industrial expansion in North America
• Modernisation and industrialisation of Japan
Key features of the world in 1945
• Prominence of the US and USSR
• The split of Germany un3l 1989
• Na3onal economies in ruin, large debts to US
• Colonisa3on power is lessened by War
• Collapse of Europe
• Growing na3onalism in the colonial empires
• India seeking independence (achieved in 1947)
• Vietnam seeking independence (Ho Chi Minh declara3on in 1945)
• Civil War in China
• Ended with victory of Mao and establishment of the Peoples Republic of China (1949)
• Together with the popula=on of the USSR, 1/3 of the world now lives under communist rule
Classical Realism

Thucydides: His work ‘Peloponnesian War’ (Greek Historian)

- The war between Athens and Sparta (BC 424), the most powerful city-states
- main themes of the book: armament, race, alliances, balance of power,
strategy, deterrence
- ‘the powerful state has always justice’
Classical Realism
Machiavelli: His work ‘Prince’ (Italian diplomat) (1513-1532)
- He explains the nature of rulers. A ruler should be both powerful and
prudent. Ethics and morals are important, but security and survival are more
- The greatest moral good is a virtuous and stable state, and actions to protect
the country are therefore justified even if they are cruel
“ ...a wise prince should establish himself on that which is his own control and
not in that of others; he must endeavor to avoid hatred, as is noted."
Classical Realism

T. Hobbes: ‘The Leviathan’ is regarded as the foundation of Western political

philosophy (1651)
- His approach to human nature is negative: human beings are competitive,
egoistic, self-centred and selfish. There is continuous conflict. ‘Social contract
theory’: between the state and its people will end the conflict, provide security
and social order. The need for a strong central government
Poli%cal Realism
- Pessimis'c view of human nature
- States are the main actors of interna'onal system (Hans Morgenthau)
- Private morality has no place in IR
- ‘Security and survival’
- ‘The principal of self-help’ is important, because, the interna'onal system is
anarchic. To keep the social order, balance of power is the key principle
- 3s: sta'sm, survival, self-help
Political Realism
- Hans Morgenthau : why do states want power? The answer is human nature
- ‘Politics Among Nations’ (1948)
The principles of political realism Morgenthau set out in Politics Among
Nations were:
1) that politics is governed by objective laws with their roots in unchanging
human nature;
2) 2) that realism perceives the world through the concept of ‘interest
understood in terms of power’;
3) 3) that, while interest is to be universally defined as power, the meaning
and content of interests may shift and change;
Political Realism
- Hans Morgenthau
4) that realism was a perspective aware of the moral significance of political
5) that moral aspirations of a single community or a state may not be
universally valid or shared;
6) and that realism as a tradition of thought was distinct in its focus on the
autonomy of the political realm and decisions made within it.
Neo-Realism (Structural Realism)
- Kenneth Waltz: a scientific international theory
His book (1979): Theory of International Politics
- ‘The absence of a higher authority in International System, coupled
with states interest in survival, leaves states with little choice but to
compete for power’
- ‘Relative gains’: cooperation among states is difficult..
- - No connection between human nature- anarchical nature of
international system.
- Why do states want power? The anarchic structure of the
international system.
- Foreign policy decisions are determined by the anarchical nature
of international system.
- Bipolar system : the ideal balance of power model for the
international system
Neo-Realism (Structural Realism)
• Why bi-polar system is less prone to wars?
(1) There is more opportunity for great Powers to have wars in
(2) Greater equality in a bi-polar system
(3) Greater poten=al for miscalcula=on in mul=polarity, which
contributes to the outbreak of war
(4) Balancing is more efficient in bipolar system
(5) But some disagree: ‘deterrence’ is much easier in a mul=polar
system+ less hos=lity in a mul=polar system
Neo-Realism (Structural Realism)
- Cultural differences, and different regime types between states
are not too important, because the international system
provides the same basic incentives
- States are like ‘black boxes’: they are treated as the same, but
some are more powerful than the others

- States are functionally similar, but they differ in their

capabilities or power :
political stability, types of resources, economic capability,
military capability & strength
Neo-Realism/Structural Realism
Power: first kind of power is military capability, second kind of
power is socio-economic assets that can help to build
military capability (size of population+state’s wealth)
Therefore, war is not the only way to increase power: states can
become more powerful through increasing the size of their
population, their power through share of global wealth

Why do states compete for power?

And how much power is enough?
Neo-Realism (Structural Realism)
Why do states compete for power?

(1) Great powers are the main actors of the anarchic

international system. ‘There is no central authority above
(2) All states possess some offensive military capability
(3) States can never be sure about the intention of the other
states. States wants to know if the other states want to
change the ‘balance of power’ (we call these states …. ??), or
whether they have no interest in changing the ‘balance of
power (we call these states ….??) But intentions cannot be
empirically verified
Neo-Realism /Structural Realism
Why do states compete for power?

(4) The main goal of the state is survival. States want to maintain their
territorial integrity and the autonomy of domes<c poli<cal order
(5) States are ra.onal actors. They are capable of coming up with
strategies that maximise their prospects for state survival
(6) Great powers fear each other. There is liDle trust among then.
Again inten<ons are uncertain.
(7) Great powers know that it is a ’self-help world’. Although
coopera<on is possible, ‘self-interest’ comes first.

- SO, the best way to survive is to be ‘powerful’

Neo-Realism /Structural Realism
Why do states compete for power?

The structure of the international system forces states to act

‘revisionist’ even they are okay with the ‘status-quo

The concept of ‘security dilemma’: when a great power takes

steps to enhance its own security, it decreases the security of
Neo-Realism (Structural Realism)
How much power is enough?

Defensive Realists ( such as Kenneth Waltz): if states attempt to gain

too much power, the system will ‘punish’ them. ‘it is unwise for
states to seek maximizing their power’ . Oppose to pursuing
‘hegemony’ -- ‘appropriate amount of power’
‘But states should not attempt to maximise their power, because it
could backfire. They should not seek hegemony’ (Th. Of
International Relations 1979)
‘States’ primary goal should be maintaining their positions in the
Examples: Napoleonic France (1792–1815), Imperial Germany (1900–18), and
Nazi Germany (1933–45)

‘If one states gain too much power, balancing occurs’

Neo-Realism (Structural Realism)
How much power is enough?

Offensive Realists (such as John Mearsheimer): States should

pursue as much as power as possible, and as well as
‘hegemony’ BECAUSE, having maximum power is the only
way to guarantee state survival in the international system.
States that initiate wars, usually wins..
The security competition is intense, there are likely to be great
power wars..
Examples: the US hegemony 19th century, Germany came close
to achieving hegemony during 1st world war
Criticism of Realism

• All realist approaches are state-centric

• What about other influen4al actors of the interna4onal
• Too much emphasis on high poli4cs: conflict, war
and security issues. What about low poli4cs?
• Social reconstruc4ons, ethical and norma4ve
aspects are ignored
• What explains misguided state behavior? (especially
in foreign policy)
The concept of security

• Two key theoretical arguments:

• International relations is likely to be violent in the future as
it has been in the past
• Prevalence of Realist approaches throughout the Cold war; Neo-realism
• Cooperation among states is likely to flourish in the post
Cold War period
• Constructivist theory, liberal institutionalism, critical security
theory, feminist approaches, post-modernist theories
The concept of security
• Cold War: ‘national security’ emphasis on ‘military
• Post-Cold War period: more holistic approach to security
• Barry Buzan’s study ‘People, States and Fear’: a view of security that
includes political, economic, societal, environmental as well as military
• Societal Security: Integration vs. Fragmentation
• European integration vs. Dissolution of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia
• Societal factors, ethno-national groups should be taken into account rather than
• Global Security : the emergence of global society; new global risks
including the breakdown of the global monetary system, global
warming, the danger of nuclear weapons
The concept of security: The traditional approach

• Historical debate:
• National security writers like Hobbes, Machiavelli, Rousseau
Pessimist viewà permanent peace is unlikely to be achievedà
• Realist school of thought: Carr and Hans Morgenthau
• Neo-realism (Structural realism): Kenneth Waltz and John
• The international system is anarchic: no central authority to
capable of controlling state behaviour
• States are potentially dangerous to each other: offensive
military capabilities
• Uncertainty, a lack of trust:
• National security (or lack of security) is a result of the structure of
the international system
The traditional approach to national security in the Post-Cold
War period
• Interna'onal poli'cs ‘is constrained by the dominant logic of security
compe''on, which no amount of coopera'on can
eliminate’(Mearsheimer 1994, 9)
• No significant change in the nature of security in the post-Cold War
• The Gulf War, the violent disintegra'on of the former Yugoslavia
• Coopera'on is possible, but limited due to :
• The problem of chea.ng and the problem of rela.ve gains
rather than absolute gains
Theories of IR/Current Issues in IR
Week 4: Liberalism, Neo-Liberalism
• Also labelled as ‘liberal institutionalist’
• Classical liberals ‘John Locke, Hugo Grotius, Immanuel Kant’
• Liberal assumptions in Kant’s framework: belief in the rational
qualifications of individuals, possibility of progress in social life, humans
despite their self-interest nature can ‘cooperate’ and construct a more
harmonius society
• Kant: ‘democratic government, economic interdependence, international
law, and organisations are a means to overcome the security dilemma of
the international system’
• Liberal internationalism: War and conflict can be overcome, or minimised,
through ‘concerted changes in both domestic and international structure of
• Liberal internationalism: War and conflict can be overcome, or
minimised, through ‘concerted changes in both domestic and
international structure of governance’
Decline in global conflict deaths
(1) The rise in democracies
(2) The increase in economic openness: increase in economic
(3) The growth in countries’ membership in intergovernmental
What are the likelihoods of not going to war
Realist assump,ons
• Power ra,o (to deter by military strength)
• Allies/ Alliance
• Distance and size

Liberal assump,ons (based on Kan,an framework)

• Democracy ‘democracies will rarely fight or even threaten each other’
• Internaitonal trade
• Interna,onal organisa,ons
What are the likelihoods of not going to war
‘Democracies will rarely fight or even threaten each other’ Why?
• Norms: Conflicts can be solved peacefuly through negotiation and
diplomacy without resorting to violence and threat
• Institutions: «democratic leaders would lose the next elections and
held responsible for wars when the costs of war outweigh the
benefits of war»
What are the likelihoods of not going to war
‘International trade: the larger the contribution of trade between two
countries to their national economies, the stronger the political base
that has a base in keeping peaceful relations’
The central question: How to achieve cooperation among states
and other actors in the international system?

International cooperation can be difficult to obtain in an anarchic international

environment that fosters ‘fear and uncertainty’

• Neo-liberalism is also a ‘state-centric’ approach: ‘states are unitary, rational

and utility-maximizing actors, dominating global affairs’
• States are unified actors with specific goals (rather than a combination of
many different domestic actors with competing interests)
• States make their decisions based on self-interested priori.es, strategic cost-
to-benefit analysis of possible choices, reac.ons and outcomes.
• Yet, unlike REALISM, it is based on ‘the possibility of cumula?ve progress in
human affairs’
• In comparison to Realism, Neoliberalism has more faith in the ability of
human beings to obtain ‘progressively be;er collec.ve outcomes that
promote freedom, peace, prosperity and jus.ce on a global scale’
• Through increased interac?on, exchange of informa?on among self-
interested individuals and actors, collec?ve benefits are achievable.
• ’International cooperation occurs when states ‘adjust their behaviour to the
actual or anticipated preferences of others’ so that ‘the policies actually
followed by one government are regarded by its partners as facilitating
realization of their own objective’ (Keohane 1984 : 51).

• International cooperation is especially possible due to the developments of

the 20th century: international institutions!

So, they focus on the role of international institutions in obtaining ’collective

international outcomes’
(1) The presence of ‘formal institutions’ (multilateral
organisations) that states voluntarily create in order to obtain
particular collective interests/outcomes’

(2) The presence of ‘informal institutions’ or ‘international

regimes’, which consists of ‘sets of implicit or explicit principles,
rules, and decision-making procedures that actors’ expectations
converge in a given area’
• Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye ’Power and Independence’ (1977)
• Despite the anarchic structure of the international system, cooperation is still possible
• Stephen Krasner ‘International Regimes’ (1983)
• Developed the concept of ‘regimes’ involving a number of issue areas
• Robert Keohane ‘After Hegemony’ (1984)
• Is Neo-Liberalism a variant of Realism? (both as rationalist approaches)
• Criticism towards both Neo—approaches: ‘Are states really unitary actors?’ ”Why to
undermine the role of domestic politics in shaping foreign policy decisions?’
• Key differences with Neo-Realism
• The concept of anarchy: Unchanging condition for Neo- Realists vs. A vacuum gradually
filled with human-created processes and institutions for Neo-Liberalists (Sterling-Folker
• The unchanging condition of anarchy is evident through wars, military/trade
competition between states (Neo-Realism)
(1) The concept of interdependence: Rela'onship of mutual dependence that
connect ac'ons and interest
• ‘Historical development of common interests can only be obtained if states
successfully cooperate with one another’
• Especially in issue areas of ‘low poli'cs’ (e.g. environment)
• (especially economic interdependence)-- ’Interdependence provides a
ra'onal, strategic incen've for states to con'nue coopera'ng with one
another’ (Keohane, 1984) – one’s economic wealth dependent on access to
the other’s market & consumers
(2) The hegemonic stability provided by the US after the WW2
• The establishment of the UN (backed by the US)
• The capitalist economic and free-trade system: the Bretton Woods System
(IMF, World Bank) backed by US economic resources
• This all created a stability for other state actors to engage in free trade in an
anarchic environment --- and the creation of an international regime for
capitalist economies
• ‘But even in the absence of a hegemon cooperation/especially economic
cooperation could be achieved in anarchy’
Barriers for international cooperation

• Neo-realism: relative gains

• Neo-liberalism: absolute gains ‘states can be motivated to cooperate
even the others’ relative gains are graters’
• Game theory (Kenneth Oye) to analyse cooperation difficulties:
• ‘ Prisoner’s dilemma’: the lack of information or transparency about the
potential pay-offs, the real value of cooperation, or defection.
• ‘The incentive to cheat on one’s partner, or the fear of being cheated
involving a mistrust about the intentions of the others’
• The possibility of ‘future interaction’
How to overcome barriers for international cooperation

• The possibility of ‘future interaction’ through ‘iteration’

• International institutions provide a platform for ‘constant and regular
meetings’, interaction and exhange of information between actors
• This allows states to learn each other’s preferences, motivations and
interests- and creates better incentives for collective action
• ‘Rational design of institutions’
Theories of IR/Current Issues in IR
Week 5-6 : Marxism and Cri3cal Theory
• With the end of the Cold War and the ‘global victory’ of capitalism, it
became a commonplace to assume ‘the ideas of Marx’ had failed.
• Although certain communist parties retained power, it was generally
agreed that they did not pose a strong threat to the hegemony of the
‘global capitalist system’
• However, certain factors have led to a renewal/rebirth of Marxist
contrubution to International Relations Theory
• The collapse of the Soviet Union
• The strength of Marx’s social theory, ‘inherent contradictions of capitalism’
and his analysis of ‘crisis’
• Liberal accounts of Capitalism suggest that free markets will move towards an
equilibrium and will become stable, but in reality this is not the case.
Marxist view of International Relations
• They expose a ‘deeper and underlying truth’ than Realism and
• ‘The familiar events of World politics, such as war, peace, treaties, all
occur within structures that have an enormous impact on such events’
--- These are the structures of a global capitalist system
• And any attempt to understand these events should be based on
understanding the processes that operate the global capitalist
• And global capitalism will ensure that the wealthy continue to prosper
in expense of the powerless and poor ---- ‘class struggles’
Marxist view of International Relations
• The relative prosperity of the few is dependent on the destitution of
the many. » Accumulation of wealth at one pole is, therefore, at the
same time accumulation of misery, slavery, ignorance, brutality at the
opposite pole» (Karl Marx).
Essential elements of Marxist theories
• For a proper understanding of the dynamics of the World poli6cs,
the social World should be studied as a whole.
• The academic division of the social World into economics, history, philosophy,
poli6cal science, sociology, IR is not helpful. None can be understood without
the knowledge of others.

• The ‘materialist’ concep6on of history

• Processes of historical change are reflec6ons of the ‘economic development
of a society’ --- ‘the economic development is the motor of history’
• And the central dynamic is the tension between ‘means of produc6on’ and
‘rela6ons of produc6on’
Essential elements of Marxist theories
The ‘materialist’ conception of history
• As the means of production develop, for example through technological
advancement, previous relations of production become outmoded, and
become ‘fetters’ that restrict the most effective use of new productive
• And this leads to a ’social change’ where relations of production also
transform in order to better response to the changing means of
• Developments in the economic base, also triggers broader
transformation of the society as a whole. (Marx, Contribution to the
Political Economy)
Essential elements of Marxist theories
Modes of production: the way a society is organized to produce goods and
(1) The forces of production: all the elements brought together in
production (from land, raw material, fuel, human skill, labour and
machinery, factories)
(2) The relations production: Relations among people and people’s
relationship to the forces of production through which decisions are
made about what to do with the results
Essential elements of Marxist theories
For Marxist theory, Realism looks at international politics through the lens of
‘security-seeking states’, Liberalism through ‘self-interested individuals’

Marxism: processes of social self-production and its possibilities

• Marx and Engels, in particular, were mainly interested in modes of
production, class conflict, social and political revolution and the economic
and technological unification of the human race.

Marxism entails numerous different variants (Western Marxism vs. Eastern

Marxism) – one common point: the desire to provide a critical interpretation of

‘The way we live our lives, the kinds of persons we are, our social relations are all
historical social products’. They ask whether/how we can organize ourselves
differently. Is there a way to have a more peaceful, democratic and equitable world?
In the mid-19th century Marx and Engels suggested that ‘capitalist
globalization’ was eroding the foundations of the international
system of states.
Competition and conflict between nation-states would not totally
end, but the actual problem will occur between two main social
(1) The national bourgeoisie controlling different systems of
(2) A growing cosmopolitan proletariat – through a revolutionary
action proletariat would embed the ideals of Enlightenment
‘equality, liberty, fraternity’ and free all human beings from
exploitation and domination
• Capitalism as a ‘form of social life’ involves human freedom and
unfreedom, empowerment and disempowerment:
• Capitalism develops the productive power of human beings, but this
development is disabling, exploitative, undemocratic
• Criticism of capitalism : ‘commodification has reached levels in
which human labour itself is bought and sold in the market’
• This leads to ‘development of historically specific class-based
relations and powers’
• Under Capitalism, although societies are empowered socially, they are
also prevented from realising their true socially productive Powers
• Isolated individuals Vs. ‘collective social product’
-- “Capitalism prevents us from looking into social relations as ‘collective and
--- “Capitalism is exploitative: ‘ The process and product of socially organized
labour are subordinated to private property and incorporated intothe
accumulation of capital”
«An account of the alienating and exploitative character of
industrial capitalism was linked with a political vision which looked
forward to the democratization of the labour process (regarded as
being as important as democratizing the institutions of the state,
and possibly of greater significance).
Marxism on capitalist globalisa1on
»The bourgeoisie has through its exploitation of the world-market given a
cosmopolitan character to production and consumption in every country … All old-
fashioned national industries have been destroyed or are daily being destroyed …
In place of the old wants, satisfied by the productions of the country, we find new
wants, requiring for their satisfaction the products of different lands and climes. In
place of the old local and national seclusion and self-sufficiency, we have
intercourse in every direction, universal interdependence of nations … The
bourgeoisie, by the rapid improvement of all instruments of production,by the
immensely facilitated means of communication, draws all, even the most barbarian
nations, into civilisation. The cheap prices of its commodities are the heavy artillery
with which it batters down all Chinese walls, with which it forces the barbarians’
intensely obstinate hatred of foreigners to capitulateIt compels all nations, on pain
of extinction, to adopt the bourgeois mode of production … i.e. to become
bourgeois themselves. In one word, it creates a world after its own image» (Marx
and Engels 1977: 224–5)
• For Realists, the central flaw of Marxism as an IR Theory is its failure
to anticipate the World events after the 1st World War
• «Class conflicts within autonomous but separate societies would trigger the
great political revolutions. It would spread from one capitalist society to
• ‘Members of the proletariat following the first World War saw that they had
more in common with their own national bourgeoise than with the working
class of other countries’ (Kenneth Waltz, 1959)
• Economic reductionism: Underestimated the concepts of nationalism, the
state and war; over-estimating the understanding of capitalism would solve all
the mysteries of international politics (Kennety Waltz)
• ‘A relational and process-oriented’ view of human beings
• Triangular set of relations: (1) the natural world, (2) social relations and
institutions, (3) and human actors
• Humans are material beings: they develop a productive interchange
with the natural world in order to secure survival.
• Humans are social beings: This productive activity is ‘socially organized’
involving social exchanges with other individuals
• Humans continuously remake the natural and social aspects of their
• Relationship between Agency and Structure
“Structure influences human behavior, and human beings are capable of
changing the social structures”
• Agents are social actors enduring social relations or structures
• Structures generate the possibility of kinds of social identity and corresponding forms of

• Structure: is the recurrent patterned arrangements which influence or limit

the choices and opportunities available
• Agency: is the capacity of individuals to act independently and to make their
own free choices
• Karl Marx ‘Dialectical understanding of History’
• Men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please;
they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under
circumstances directly encountered, given,and transmitted from the past’
(2000: 329)
• Historical materialism: An emphasis on production, property relations,and
class– explaining the development of capitalism historically.
• Capitalist Globalisation & Global Inequalities: it is the backdrop of the
development of modern societies
• Explanations of the social World are never innocent as they seem.
• Objective: To provide an overview of the history of human
development from the earliest phases to contemporary era.
“Human history has been a laborious struggle to satisfy basic
material needs, to understand and tame nature, to resist class
domination and exploitation, to overcome fear and distrust of
other communities”
• Question: How to change the world?
Marxist Approaches to IR
• The processes which led to the ’economic and social unification’ of
the human race and the role of ‘global capitalism’ played in
accelerating this process.
• Objective: replacing alienation, exploitation with a new form of
‘universal cooperation’ – to promote freedom for everyone (universal
• Historical subject is the «international cosmopolitan proletariat» but
the rising danger of nationalism and risk of war
• Criticism of Marxism: ‘an account of world history’, ‘the rise of socialism as
opposed to capitalism would end conflict between states’ (Kenneth Waltz),
“Marxists have underestimated the importance of nationalism,
the state, geo-politics and war, the rule of balance of power,
international law and diplomacy in world politics” (Martin
• Early Frankfurt School thinkers (1930s) e.g. Horkheimer, later Habermas
(1970s) : reconstruction of historical materialism
Critical Theory
• Critical theory incorporates a wide range of approaches all focused on
the idea of ‘freeing pople from the modern state and economic
system’– a concept known as EMANCIPATION
• Like Philosophers Immanuel Kant and Karl Marx, Critical Theorists are
interested in understanding how the World can be reodered and
• The common question is: how to promote a more just global system?
• Critical theorists aim at changing national societies, international relations
and the global society for this objective
The Basics of Critical Theory
• Tracing social and political possibilities or change for ‘global freedom’
• The works of Antonio Gramsci and Robert Cox : the paradigm of
• Contemporary redistribution struggles (economic relations) is imporant to
understand the quest for global freedom
• The Frankfurt Schol (Jurgen Habermas), Andrew Linklater: the
paradigm of communication
• The questions of identity and community are more significant than economic
relations in today’s quest for emancipation
The Basics of Critical Theory
• Gramscian approach is more interested in issues related to sub-field
of interna'onal poli'cal economy
• Cri7cal theorists are concerned with numerous issues, including
interna7onal society, interna7onal ethics and security.
• Frankfurt school: A group of thinkers during 1920s-30s (German Jews
mostly forced into exile in the US)
• Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse (earlier scholars)
• Jurgen Habermas - one of the most influen7al contemporary social theorists
The Basics of Critical Theory
• Gramscian approach is more interested in issues related to sub-field
of international political economy
• Critical theorists are concerned with numerous issues, including
international society, international ethics and security.
• Frankfurt school: A group of thinkers during 1920s-30s (German Jews
mostly forced into exile in the US)
• Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse (earlier scholars)
• Jurgen Habermas - one of the most influential contemporary social theorists
Some common assumptions of Critical Theory
• Their intellectual concerns are less focused on the ‘economic base’ of
the society (than the Marxists)
• They are more concerned on questions relating to culture,
bureaucracy, the social basis and natüre of authoritarianism, the
structure of the family
• Frankfurt School theorists: are particularly famous for the analysis of
the role of media – which they have termed as ‘culture industry’
• In Marxist terms, the focus of critical theory is almost entirely ‘super-
Some common assumptions of Critical Theory
• They challenge the Marxist assumption that the proleteriat (working
class) has the potential for ‘emancipatory transformation’
• Frankfurt School Thinkers arque that with the rise of mass culture
and the increasing commodification of every element of social life,
the working class has been absorbed by the system and it no longer
poses a threat to it.
• It has become a ‘one-dimensional society’ (Herbery Marcuse, 1964)
• The World becomes ‘one-dimensional’ through the repression of opposition and
restriction of critical thinking.
• Capitalism has created a culture that is based on consumerism, commodification and an
unhealthy amount of time and energy is spent in order to purchase new items of
Some common assumptions of Critical Theory
• They challenge the Marxist assump3on that the proleteriat (working
class) has the poten3al for ‘emancipatory transforma3on’
• Frankfurt School Thinkers arque that with the rise of mass culture
and the increasing commodifica3on of every element of social life,
the working class has been absorbed by the system and it no longer
poses a threat to it.
• It has become a ‘one-dimensional society’ (Herbery Marcuse, 1964)
• The World becomes ‘one-dimensional’ through the repression of opposi3on and
restric3on of cri3cal thinking.
• Capitalism has created a culture that is based on consumerism, commodifica3on and an
unhealthy amount of 3me and energy is spent in order to purchase new items of
Some common assumptions of Critical Theory
The meaning of ‘emancipation’
• Habermas: emancipation is more concerned with ‘communication’ than our
relationship with the natural World
• The road to emancipation lies through ‘radical democracy’: the widest possible
participation is encouraged not only in Word, but also in deed, by actively identifying
barriers to participation (social, economic and cultural barriers) and overcoming them.
• This sort of participation is not limited to the borders of a sovereign state. Rights and
obligations go beyond the state borders.

• Andrew Linklater: emancipation in the realm of International Relations should

be understood as expanding the moral boundaries of a political community
Some common assumptions of Critical Theory
The meaning of ‘emancipation’
- Andrew Linklater: emancipation is a process in which the borders of a
sovereign state lose their ethical and mora significance.
- What do borders mean for a sovereign state and its society?
- So he argues, the objective is to move towards a situation in which
citizens share the same duties and obligations towards non-citizens as
they do towards their fellow citizens..
- But this would require a total transformation of current political
institutions of governance.
Some common assumptions of Critical Theory
So for critical theory, it is important to identify and if possible, nurture
tendencies that point in the direction of ‘emancipation’
-Any Examples?
- For Linklater, an example from the contemporary World politics
is……..…….(because it challenges the idea that the sovereign state
has an exclusive hold on its citizens)
Critical Theory
• Robert Cox’s challenge of Realist assump7ons:
• The study of inter-state rela2ons in isola2on from other social forces is
• Global poli7cs is a »collec2ve construc2on that evolve through the complex
interplay of state, sub-state, and trans-state forces in economic, cultural and
ideological spheres»
• If we really need a change, this has to happen in a wide range of spheres of
contemporary World poli2cs.
• Focusing only on great Powers and strategic stability, only ends up reinforcing
unjust global rela2ons stemming from power and coercion.
Critical Theory
• Critique of Realism: There is a timeless logic to international relations
• Critique of Liberalism: the pursuit of global capitalism is positive
«Theory is always for someone and for some purpose» (Cox, 1981:128)

Power: is a set of globalised relations of production demanding the

transformation of the nation-state, and it depends on the combination of
material elements and ideas of acquiring legitimacy.

• There is a need to uncover all sorts of hegemonic interests feeding the World
order as a first step to overcome ‘global systems of exclusion and inequality’
Theories of IR/Current Issues in IR
Week 7 : Constructivism
• Neo-realism and neo-liberalism agree on two issues:
• Individualism: is the view that actors have fixed interests and the structure
constrains their behaviour
• Materialism: is the view that the structure constrains behaviour is defined by
distribution of power, technology and geography.
• Neo-realism assertss that interests trump ideas and norms
• Neo-liberal institutionalism recognises that states might willingly construct norms and
institutions to regulate their behaviour if doing so will enhance their long-term interests

These two were the initial two points challenged by scholars who are now known as
Nicholas Onuf (1989) «World of Our Making»
Construc=vism is a social theory, not a substan=ve theory of interna=onal
-- A World without norms and ideas was not very sensible, and
for understanding the behaviour of states and non-state actors,
we also need to understand how they see the World and themselves.
-- The end of Cold War: the impact of ideas to transform the
organisa=on of World poli=cs (transna=onalism, human rights, etc.)
«What is the na*onal interest? How it relates to their
na*onal iden*ty?»
• Constructivists are concerned with human
consciousness and knowledge, and treat ideas as
structural factors that influence how actors interpret
the World, consider the dynamic relationship between
ideas and material forces as a consequence of how
actors interpret their material reality, and are
interested in how agents produce structures and how
structures produce agents
• Constructivism is a social theory, not a substantive theory of
international politics
• Comparable to rational choice: how actors operate with fixed
preferences that they attempt to maximise under a set of constraints?

• Constructivism: How to conceptualise the relationship between the structure

and the agency?
• They are concerned with describing who are the principal actors, what are
their interests and capacities, and what is the content of the normative
Common issues within Constructivism
(1) The core of Constructivism: a commitment to idealism
• ’We should take the role of ideas seriously in World Politics’
• ‘Human consciousness and its role in international life’ (Ruggie,1998)

• Ideas are social. They are constantly shaped in our heads by knowledge,
symbol, language and rules.
• Idealism does not reject material reality. But the meaning of that material
reality is dependent on ideas and interpretation.

Example: Balance of Power is not standing there on its own. States debate about balance
of power, what it means and how they should respond to balance of power.
Common issues within Constructivism
(2) The core of Construc1vism: holism and structuralism

• The World is social, but agencies have the role to construct,

reproduce and transform exis1ng structures
• Example: Although the US and Soviet Union seemed to be locked by the
structure of the Cold War, leaders on both sides crea1vely transformed their
rela1ons and as well as the structure of global poli1cs.
Constructivism: Key Elements
• Social construction of reality: the emphasis on the socially
constructed nature of actors and their identities and interest
• Actors are produced and created by their cultural environment, not nature.

• The importance identity and the social construction of interests

• Examples: American identity shapes national interests.
• Arab nationalism shaped the identities and interests of Arab states (intense rivalry)
• Other examples?

• How knowledge – symbols, rules, concepts and categories- shape

how individuals construct and interpret the World.
Constructivism: Key Elements
• How knowledge – symbols, rules, concepts and categories- shape
how individuals construct and interpret the World.
• Reality does not exist out there waiting to be discovered; instead it is
‘historically produced and culturally bound knowledge. This enables
individuals to construct and give meaning to reality’

• Existing categories help us to understand, define, and make sense of the

• Brute facts vs. social facts: social facts are dependent on human
agreement, and will continue to exist even if humans disappear.
• Refugees, Money, human rights, terrorism, etc…
Constructivism: Key Elements
• Norms and rules
• Regulative rules: regulate already existing activities, e.g. Rules regulating
international trade
• Constitutive rules: create the ‘very possibility for these activities’
• E.g. The rules of soverignity not only regulates state practices, but also make
possible ‘the very idea of a sovereign state’

’Rules are not static, but they are revised through practice, reflection,
and arguments by actors regarding how they should be applied to new
situations’ (Finnemore and Sikkink 1998)
• Ideas, knowledge, norms and rules also influence states’ iden66es
and interests and the organisa6on of poli6cs.
• Construc6vism has a strong interest in ‘global change’
• The convergence by states around similar ways of organising domes6c and
interna6onal life;
• How norms become interna6onalised and ins6tu6onalised;
• How norms influence what states and non-states actor do?
• Core ques6ons: Is Interna6onal Poli6cs a system or a society?
• Can norms and ideas define states’ interests
Constructivism: Key Elements

Is Anarchy a socially constructed

phenomenon or is it a fixed state?
Constructivism: Key Elements
• How knowledge – symbols, rules, concepts and categories- shape
how individuals construct and interpret the World.
• Reality does not exist out there waiting to be discovered; instead it is
‘historically produced and culturally bound knowledge. This enables
individuals to construct and give meaning to reality’

• Existing categories help us to understand, define, and make sense of the

• Brute facts vs. social facts: social facts are dependent on human
agreement, and will continue to exist even if humans disappear.
• Refugees, Money, human rights, terrorism, etc…
Constructivism (Three cultures of anarchy)
• Alexander Wendt (1992) « anarchy is what states make of it»
• Different beliefs and practices will generate divergent patterns and
organisation of World politics.

The deep structure of anarchy is cultural or ideational rather than material.

There are three roles states give to themselves and the others: enemy, rival and
1. Hobbesian anarchy: the war against all (the self-help system)
2. Lockean anarchy: based on rivalry, not threatening as enemies as long as
rivals expect each other’s liberty and sovereignity
3. Kantian anarchy: disputes will be settled without war or the threat of war,
they will fight as a team if the security of any one is threatened by a third
party (Wendty, 1999)
• Culture: Culture does not constrain ac0on (ra0onalist presump0on).
Instead, it informs the meanings that people give to their ac0on.

• Power: The forces of power go beyond the material, they can also be
idea0onal (BarneA and Duvall 2005)
• The issue of legi0macy: is an important determinant of power (even great
Powers will frequently feel the need to alter their policies in order to be
viewed as ‘legi0mate’
• Naming and shaming in the human rights field.
Constructivism: Common issues
• The methods of the natural World and the social World are different:
humans reflect on their experiences and use these experiences to
inform their reasons for their behaviour.
• There is no need to search for timeless laws for global politics (or
human sciences), because these will adapt to new social realities
through human experience.
Agent—structure problem
• How to think about the relationship between agents and structures
• One view: agents are born with already formed identities and interests and
then treat other actors and the broad structure that their interactions
produce as a constraint on their interests
• Actors are pre-social and there is little interest in their identities or possibility that they
might change their interests through their interactions with others

• Another view: to treat the structure not as a constraint but as ‘constituting

the actors themselves’
Constructivism and global change
• Criticism of major IR theories for their inability to explain
‘contemporary global transformation’
• World orders are created and sustained not only be great power preferences
but also by changing understandings of what constitutes a legitimate
international order.
• Diffusion, socialisation, internationalisation/ institutionalisation of norms.
• Organisations that share the same environment will, over time, resemble each other.
• States look alike because they want acceptance, legitimacy and status.
• Democratisation and ‘free, fair elections’
Theories of IR/Current Issues in IR
Week 8 : Feminism
Feminist theory
• As an academic discipline, Feminism grew out of the feminist
movement of the 1960s-70s – dedicated to achieving political, social
and economic equality for women.

• For feminist theory, the goal is to explain women’s subordination,

which exists to varying degrees in all societies – and look for ways to
end it.
Feminst theory in IR
• Feminist perspectives entered the IR discipline at the end of the
1980s, coinciding with the end of Cold War & entrance of new issues
on the global agenda
• More emphasis given to economic relations: proponents of economic
globalisation vs. opponents of economic globalisation for not ending poverty
• The broadening concept of ‘security’: emphasising threats to human security
in addition to threats to state security
• Ethno-national/ civil conflicts
• More emphasis on non-state actors, social movements and international
Feminst theory in IR
• Feminist perspectives are not satisfied with framing of
‘international politics’ as ‘inter-state politics’
• Where do we hear women’s voice in international politics?
• Less visibility of women in political leadership, whereas political
decisions affect them considerably

• Majority of casualties in civil wars consist of women and children

• Women are the majority of World’s poorest population
• How economic resources are distributed in the current system shape such
Feminist theory
• There are different types of feminist theory
• They all provide different reasons for women’s subordina8on
• But they all use gender as an important category of analysis

• Liberal feminists believe that removing legal obstacles can

overcome women’s subordina8on.

• Post-liberal feminists see deeply rooted structures of patriarchy

in all socie8es, which cannot be overcome by removing legal
obstacles alone
• Marxist, post-colonial, poststructural feminist theories
Feminist theory
• Marxist and socialist feminist theories look for explanations in the
labour market, which has a divide between paid labour work
outside and unpaid work in the household (the issue of ‘double

• Post-colonial and post-structural feminists believe that ‘we cannot

generalise about all women’
• Because women are placed differently in and among societies depending
on their class, race and gender.
Feminist theory – Gender analysis
• Feminists define gender as a set of ‘socially and culturally
constructed characteristics that define what we mean by
masculinity and feminity’

• Gender is a system of social hierarchy in which masculine

characteristics are more valued than feminine ones

• Gender is a structure that signifies ‘unequal power relationships

between women and men’
Feminist theory – Gender analysis
• Feminists define gender as a set of ‘socially and culturally
constructed characteristics that define what we mean by
masculinity and feminity’
• Power, public, rationality--- ‘masculine’, ‘real man’
• Weakness, dependence/connection, emotionality, private – ‘feminine’

• Studies show that both women and men assign a more positive
value to masculine characteristics
• Women in powerful positions appear to act like ‘real man’
• Some feminists argue that such behaviour is necessary for both women
and men to succeed in the tough world of international policy-making
(Cohn 1993)
Feminist theory – Gender analysis

•Is interna*onal poli*cs masculine/feminine?

•In what ways do states legi*mise their behaviour

through masculinity?
Feminist theory – Gender analysis
• Gender is also a structure of meaning that signifies power
• Gender becomes a mechanism for the unequal distribution of social
benefits and costs – especially for understanding issues of inequality,
insecurity, and social justice
• Feminists argue that ‘we need to make unequal gender structures visible
in order to move beyond them’
IR Feminists – Gender analysis
• In 2012, less than 6 per cent of the World’s heads of state were
women and most of the World’s military personnel were men.
• Where are the women in international politics?
«We need to look in unconventional places, not normally considered within the boundaries
of global politics» (Cynthia Enlie, 1989)

• What constrains security and economic opportunities of women?

• What contributes to women’s subordination in international politics?
IR Feminists – Liberal Feminism
• They investigate problems of refugee women, trafficked women,
income inequalities between men and women, human rights
violations disproportionately affecting women
• They look for women in the institutions and practices of global
politics and observe how their presence (absence) affects and is
affected by international policy-making.
• They ask ‘what a World with more women in positions of power might look
• Women’s equality could be achieved by removing legal and other obstacles
that deny them the same rights and opportunities as men.
IR Feminists – Post-liberal Feminism
• Gender inequali+es con+nue to exist in socie+es that have long since
achieved formal legal equality. We must look more deeply at gender
hierarchies to explain these inequali7es

• Feminist cri7cal theory: has roots in Gramscian Marxism

• How both ideas and material structures shape people’s lives, and how
changes in the meaning of gender have changed the prac+ces of interna+onal
organisa+ons over +me
• Sandra Whitworth (1994) « Feminism and Interna+onal Rela+ons »
IR Feminists – Post-liberal Feminism
• Feminist social constructivism: builds on social constructivism
• They study the processes where ideas about gender influence global politics,
and global politics influence ideas about gender.
• Elisabeth Prugl (1999) » The Global Construction of Gender» the treatment of
home-based work in international law. Is home based not ‘real work’? The
ILO’s Homework Convention (1996)

• Post-colonial feminism: women’s subordinations must be addressed

within their own cultural context, rather than through some universal
understanding of women’s needs (Chandra Mohanty, 1988)
Gendering ‘security’
• Men are ‘protectors’, women and children ‘in need of protection’
• The association between war and masculinity.
• Women also as ‘security providers’

• Feminists’ view of security – dimunition of all forms of violence,

including physical, economic and ecological.
• «We should start with the security of individual, community rather than that
of the state and the international system.
Gender in the global economy
• Men are ‘protectors’, women and children ‘in need of protection’
• The association between war and masculinity.
• Women also as ‘security providers’

• Feminists’ view of security – dimunition of all forms of violence,

including physical, economic and ecological.
• «We should start with the security of individual, community rather than that
of the state and the international system.
Theories of IR/Current Issues in IR
Week 9-10: Norms and Global Governance – Interna:onal Regimes
International Regimes
• The study of regimes helps us to understand the means and conditions
under which states cooperate with one another
• What are international regimes?
• ’Rule-governed activity within the international system’
• ‘Complex set of rules and institutions that regulate international relations around the

• International rules existed before the emergence of the modern state, but
they have become a global phenomenon during the 20th century

• Formation of regimes, continuation of regimes, and formation of new

regimes are all very challenging processes!
International Regimes
• Regimes are as ‘sets of implicit or explicit principles, rules, norms, and
decision-making procedures which actors’ expectations converge in a
given area of international relations’ (Stephen Krasner, 1983:2)
• Regimes are ‘more specialised arrangements that pertain to well-
defined activities, resources, or geographical areas that often involve
only some subset of the members of international society’ (

• Regimes may or may not take the form of international organisations

(Brahm, 2005)
• Examples: Atomic Energy Agency, Antarctic Treaty System , International
Human Rights Regime
How and Why International Regimes are formed,
transformed, maintained?
----- And how they influence state behaviour? ----

Regime theorists are generally located within two schools of thought: REALISM and

- Common assumptions:
- States operate in an anarchic international system
- States are rational and unitary actors
- States are the units responsible for establishing regimes
- Regimes are established on the basis of cooperation in the international system
- Regimes promote international order
How and Why International Regimes are formed and

Realism Liberalism

POWER: The role of power in creating and sustaining INTERESTS: Regimes as mechanisms that facilitate
regimes, the consequences regimes may have in achieving optimal outcomes by reducing ‘uncertainty’
power distribution



system, states are concerned about their positions vis-
a-vis other states
Institutionalism: Weak Institutionalism: Medium

Hasenclever, Mayer and RiRberger (1997) «Theories of InternaYonal Regimes»

How and Why International Regimes are formed and maintained?
Liberalism/ Neo-liberalism/Liberal- Realism

Ø Regimes enable states to collaborate Ø Regimes enable states to coordinate

Ø Regimes promote the common good Ø Regimes generate differential benefits for states

Ø Regimes flourish best when promoted and maintained by a Ø Power is the centre feature of regime formation and
‘benign hegemon’ survival

Ø The major mechanism for establishing and maintaining a

regime, is not, the existence of a hegemon, but the Ø ’The US was a hegemon and it used its power to sustain a
principle of reciprocity regime that promoted its own long-term interests. And
these liberal norms and principles were contested by the
Third World (e.g. Economic regimes)
Ø A hegemon can effectively veto the formation of a
How and Why International Regimes are formed and maintained?
Liberalism/ Liberal- Institutionalism Realism

Ø Regimes help to overcome the problem of anarchy. Because Ø Regimes form in situations where uncoordinated
anarchy inhibits collaboration. That is why we need regimes strategies interact to produce subobtimal outcomes

Ø Regimes promote globalisation and liberal World order Ø The nature of the World order depends on the underlying
principles and norms of regimes

Ø And to maintain a regime, there is need for inspection, Ø States wishing to form a regime confront the problem of
surveillance and scientific studies coordination: THE BATTLE OF SEXES AND PARETO’S

Ø Regimes promote globalisation and liberal World order Ø The nature of the World order depends on the underlying
principles and norms of regimes
International Regimes
• For some Realists, ‘distributional issues’ is an important issue.
• Regimes are useful for providing stability.
• And they are important in mediating between interests & outcomes.
• States’ sensitivity to relative gains, «that others may get more out of
an agreement than the other ones»
• So, regimes are easier to maintain in ‘economic spheres’ rather than
‘security spheres’
• But at the same time, regimes help to minimize ‘cheating issues’ and
allow for cooperation based on state interests.
International Regimes
• Neoliberals/ Liberal Institutionalists argue that states are primarily
concerned with ‘absolute gains’.
• When deciding to cooperate, states will evaluate what is offered to
them, rather than ‘what they will gain relative to others’
• From the neoliberal perspective, regimes help to solve the »prisoner’s
• Regimes can facilitate cooperation by providing information, reducing
transaction costs, facilitating linkages, a cooperative ‘tit-for-tat’
strategy leaving an actor with ‘absolute gains’
4 Defining Elements of a Regime
1. Principles are presented by coherent bodies of theore1cal
statements about how the World Works
2. Norms iden1fy general standards of behaviour, and iden1fy
the rights and obliga1ons of states
3. Rules operate at a lower level generality than principles and
norms, they are o;en designed to reconcile conflicts between
principles and norms
4. Decision-making procedures iden1fy specific prescrip1ons for
behaviour, e.g. The vo1ng system
(Krasner, 1983:2)
Security Regimes
• An earlier example: Concert of Europe, which was established by
conservative states of post-Napoleonic European states to counter
revolution and conflict
• During the Cold War: SALT 1 ; SALT 2, to bring the arms race between
the US and the Soviet Union under control
• The Partial Test Ban Agreement (1963)
• Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime
Economic Regimes / Communication Regimes
• Communication regimes: Growing attempts to open postal services,
telecommunications, and national airlines to greater competition
• Economic regimes: Established in the post 2nd World War period with
the leadership of the US based on liberal principles
• GATT (now the WTO) : A Trading regime based on free trade principles
• But a trading regime also required stable economies and a stable monetary
system (International Monetary Fund/IMF)