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IR 382 - Lecture 1-4 Introduction to Order/Disorder and IR Theory

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Shannon Gibson

on 19 January 2018

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Transcript of IR 382 - Lecture 1-4 Introduction to Order/Disorder and IR Theory

Liberalism / Idealism
Structure = Anarchy
Main actor = still states
Change = Anarchy can be mitigated
Institutions (Collective Security)
Markets (Complex Interdependence)
Democratic Peace Theory
These can create shared interests and absolute gains
Future = progressive
Critiques anarchy and state centrality
Objective & normative
Actors = classes
Structure = Mode of Production
System = Conflictual bc of Capital which creates a hierarchical society:
Class (bourgeosie vs proletariat)
Colonial (Mother state vs colony)
Core-Periphery: North vs. South
Exploitation & Dependency
Thank you!
Structure = Anarchy
Main actors = States
Major assumptions:
Humans, by nature are selfish
States are unitary & rational
Balance of power
Relative gains & survival at any cost
World order = Competitive & conflictional
Future = cyclical
Introduction to Order/Disorder
IR 382 - Shannon Gibson, Ph.D.
Rejects material explanations
Takes a
approach to "reality"
IR is
mutually constitutive
Actors = states and non-state actors
Variable =
factors (norms)
System = Ever-changing
Theory Considered
Types of Theory
Objective ("Classic")
Subjective (Corrective)
Discursive (Critical)
Structure vs. Agency

Ontology vs. Epistemology
Ontology (n.) = the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being.
Epistemology (n.) = a branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of knowledge.
How is knowledge obtained?
Discussion: Structural Violence
"Order" vs. "Disorder"?
What conditions/situations perpetuate each?
State of the World today?
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
This course is largely about this debate...how every day people battle the oppressive structures historically and today.
What is theory?
“Order is a term that carries normative and ideological connotations, as it bears particular conceptions about how social, political, and economic systems are and ought to be structured”
Debates within Realism
Hegemonic Stability Theory
What is Power?
Balance of Power - Mastaduno
"3 images of the Coming World Order"
increased economic competition
return to multipolarity
American-centric order
Hard Power vs. Soft Power
basically the capability to make another state do something it would not otherwise do or to stop it from doing something it wants to do.
Positivism vs. Post-positivism
Explaining World Order :
"Anarchy is what states make of it."
General goals:
focus on agency & structure
co-constitution rather than causation
focus on marginalization
deconstruct meta-narratives
General Assertions:
critical of IR meta-narratives
theories are not value-neutral
"Theory is always for someone and for some purpose."
traditional theory has limited ontology (states & high-politics)
Traditional IR theory / Positivist approaches ignores race, gender, oppression and other forms of STRUCTURAL VIOLENCE.
Steve Smith: 8 Questions about International Order
What is international "order"?
Why does it privilege the state?
Is order desirable?
Qs 4-6: Order, identity & exclusion
Assumptions of progress?
What does order mean in a globalized world?

Critical / Post-Positivist Approaches
"Once established as common sense, theories become incredibly powerful since they delineate not simply what can be known but also what is sensible to talk about or suggest. Those who swim outside these safe waters risk more than simply the judgement that their theories are wrong; their entire ethical or moral stance may be ridiculed or seen as dangerous just because their theoretical assumptions are deemed unrealistic. Defining common sense is therefore THE ultimate act of political power. (Smith, Positivism & Beyond, pg. 13)
Full transcript