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Tenants of classical realism

1. Conflict is normal and always will be (pessimism)
2. Anarchy defines the international system due to no supranational government
3. States are the primary actors
4. States are rational actors
5. Power struggle is ever-present and always central to IR → Ultima ratio, or final decision-maker
6. Immutability of the system


Classical realism theorists

- Hans Morgenthau, EH Carr
- Machiavelli, Thucydides, Hobbes


What is rational choice theory

Rational Choice Theory
- Rational actors seek maximum gain at minimum cost (instrumental rationality)
- Contradicted by value-rationality, which permits material sacrifice for immaterial gain


power via classical realism

- Hard power is the use of military and economic means to influence the behaviour of other actors → both
carrot and stick
- Soft power is the ability to attract actors towards one’s interests without coercion: eg; British monarchy,
American media culture


Tenents of structural realism

1. International systems are anarchic whereas domestic systems are hierarchic
2. Anarchy creates a self-help system → states need not dominate, only survive → this self-help system
causes historical patterns of behaviour → balancing occurs
3. Co-operation is difficult as it causes vulnerability → problem with eco/pol integration


structural realists theorists

Kenneth Waltz


What is Fearon's theory of war

- War is unnecessary as states can bargain rationally, however they do not
1. “Blood and treasure”: war is costly, often more than it is rewarding
2. War is easy to fall into: private information misrepresents other state’s capabilities; no credible
commitments or guarantee against betrayal; resources are not equally divisible


Tenents of classical liberalism

1. Rejection of realism power-politics → the system is not immutable
2. Mutual benefit through international co-operation
3. Non-state actors and NGOs implement state preferences


Classical liberal theorists

- Immanuel Kant
- Woodrow Wilson


Tenents of neoliberalism

- Non-state actors emphasised → institutions are powerful, ought to be built
- Espouses for market liberalism and free-trade
- Greater economic integration disincentivises conflict


Neoliberalist theorists

- Michael Doyle
- Francis Fukuyama
- Robert Keohane
- Joseph Nye


Tenents of democratic peace thesis

- Democracies will not go to war
1. Familiarity and ideological adjacency
2. Accountability to voters discourages conflict
3. Greater public wealth of democracies discourages conflict


Democratic peace thesis theorists

- Immanuel Kant
- Michael Doyle


Tenents of rationalism

- Rationalism combines realism and internationalism
1. Multinational organisations have a place in the world order, but world government is unachievable and undesirable
2. Pure self-interest is wrong
3. Sovereignty may be violated under exceptional circumstances


Rationalism theorists

- James Fearon


Tenents of reflectivism

- A range of theoretical ideas rejecting rational choice theory
- All postpositivists are reflectivists but not all reflectivists are postpositivists


Theorists for reflectivism

- Joseph Nye



Rejects positivist fixation with empirical observation through scientific method
- Non-state actors are important
- Everyday world is studied as well as high-politics → harder to collect data from individuals
- Rejects metanarratives
- Focuses on how power is experienced rather than how it is exercised
- Promotes normative questioning of ethics and morality
- Aims to understand rather than explain/account for → hermeneutics


Tenents of constructivism

1. Everything is socially constructed; the world is what we make it
2. Reflectivist rejection of empirical primacy and rational-choice theory
3. Aims to understand rather than explain
4. Norms influence actor’s identities and constantly fluctuate
5. Social and material factors are equally important


What is norm building under constructivism?

- Norms are standards of appropriate behaviour for actors with a given identity
- Critical-states are crucial to the creation and upholding of norms
o Issue-specific critical states are relevant to the norm because they have been violators
o Powerful critical states are relevant simply because they have power and influence
- An actor that pushes for a norm is a norm-entrepreneur
- Norm-spiral: public shaming of a state until they internalise the norm:
o Accusation and denial of the norm
o Accusation and denial of an action, but not norm
o Recognition of norm violation but inaction
o Behavioural/identity change


What is wendt’s Social Theory of International Politics

- ‘Ideas’ and cultural version of Waltz’s systemic analysis of IR
- States behave according to three normative systems:
o Hobbesian: conflict
o Lockean: competition, live-and-let-live
o Kantian: friendship and rules


Constructivism theorist

- Alexander Wendt
- Martha Finnemore and Kathryn Sikkink


Tenents of poststructuralism

- Challenges accepted truths and knowledge of the world
- Questions power-dynamics of dominant narratives
- Challenges universal laws
- Emphasises subjectivity of truth
- Emphasises words and language


What is Securitisation theory?

- Securitising is the process by which states transfer matters into “national security” interests in order to
enable extraordinary means
- Securitised issues are originally non-threatening but become so because they are labelled as such
- Eg; Islamisation now means radicalism rather than historical conversion to Islam; Canadian aluminium is
now a threat to US interests; “war on terrorism”


What is liberal feminism?

- Equality may be gained through representation in liberal structures such as state-institutions from which
rights are derived


What is radical feminism?

Existing systems are oppressive by nature and shaped by gender bias → inherent differences exist
between men and women → masculinity and femininity should be valued equally for their different


What is intersectionality?

- An awareness of how different forms of disadvantage modify eachother and one’s experience of power
- Class refers to how one is socialised and influences all aspects of identity


Feminist theorists

- Cynthia Enloe


Tenents of postcolonialism

- Examines lasting implications of colonialism
- Challenges eurocentricity of IR, and the assumption that enlightenment thinking is superior, progressive
and universal
- Primacy of enlightenment is enabled by portraying ‘the other’ as lesser
- Cultural chauvinism


postcolonial theorists

- Edward Said