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POLSC211: Introduction to International Relations

Unit 2: International Relations Theories   This unit examines the theories used to understand international relations: the two primary theories are realism and liberalism. Realism argues that the main factor in world politics is power and that the state constitutes the most important actor in the international system. Liberalism emphasizes the role of international norms and cooperation in influencing international relations. This unit will also introduce you to subcategories of Realist theory, such as Neorealism, the Hegemonic Stability Theory, and the Balance of Power theory. Next, we will look at constructivism, which comes from a sociological-legalist view. And finally, the Marxist theory advocates a class-based and economic perspective on human progress. These theoretical approaches will afford you a better understanding of the different ways in which we can analyze and understand contemporary international politics.

Unit 2 Time Advisory
Completing this unit will take approximately 12 hours.
☐    Subunit 2.1: 4 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 2.1.1: 2 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 2.1.2: 1.75 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 2.1.4: 0.25 hours

☐    Subunit 2.2: 5 hours ☐    Introduction: 0.5 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 2.2.1: 2 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 2.2.2: 2.5 hours

☐    Subunit 2.3: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 2.4: 2 hours

Unit2 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
- discuss and explain the various analytical and theoretical positions used in the subfield of international relations to explain world politics; - describe specific issues that have relevance to the study of interstate relations, national security, war, economic integration, trade, and so forth; and - discuss the role of national power and diplomacy in international relations.

2.1 Realism   2.1.1 Classical Realism to Neo-Realism   - Reading: Mount Holyoke College: Hans J. Morgenthau’s “Politics among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace” Link: Mount Holyoke College: Hans J. Morgenthau’s “Politics among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this webpage to learn about Morgenthau’s six principles of political realism. Note that Hans Morgenthau is widely acknowledged as one of the founders of classical realist thought. 
 
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  • Reading: Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology: Professor Terrence Casey’s “The Realist Perspective” Lecture Notes Link: Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology: Professor Terrence Casey’s The Realist Perspective Lecture Notes (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Review Professor Casey’s lecture notes on realism. This reading will also cover the topic outlined in sub-subunit 2.1.2.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Web Media: YouTube: Columbia University’s Conceptual Foundations of International Relations: Richard Betts’ “Realism” Lecture Link: YouTube: Columbia University’s Conceptual Foundations of International Relations: Richard Betts’ Realism (YouTube)
     
    Instructions: Watch this lecture. 

    Watching this lecture will take approximately 1 hour. 
     
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  • Web Media: YouTube: UC-Berkeley’s “Conversations with History: Kenneth Waltz” Link: YouTube: UC-Berkeley’s “Conversations with History: Kenneth Waltz” (YouTube)
     
    Instructions: Watch this video, starting at the 23:00 minute mark through to the end. The video is an interview with Professor Emeritus Kenneth Waltz who is considered one of the founding fathers of neorealism, or what is sometimes called structural realism.

    Watching this lecture will take approximately 40 minutes. 
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above. 

  • Lecture: iTunes U: American University: Professor Patrick Jackson’s “Realism” Lecture Link: iTunes U: American University: Professor Patrick Jackson’s “Realism” Lecture (iTunes U)
     
    Instructions: Click on “View in iTunes” for lecture 1 titled “Realism” and listen to Professor Patrick Jackson’s lecture. This is a wonderfully descriptive lecture, full of examples to give depth to your understanding of Realism. Professor Jackson includes elements of Neo-Realism in his discussion of Realism; see if you can identify those elements. Note also that sometimes the term “Realism” is used to discuss all aspects of the theory. This lecture will also cover sub-subunit 2.1.2.

    Listening to this lecture will take approximately 35 minutes. 
     
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  • Reading: YouTube: Rey Ty’s “Realism and Neo-Realism” Link: YouTube: Rey Ty’s “Realism & Neo-Realism: How Conservatives View the World” (YouTube)
     
    Instructions: Watch the above video to clarify the distinction between Realism and Neo-Realism, also known as Structuralism.

    Watching this video will take approximately 5 minutes. 
     
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2.1.2 Balance of Power   Note: The subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath sub-subunit 2.1.1.

2.1.3 Hegemonic Stability   - Reading: Mount Holyoke College: Professor Vincent Ferraro’s “The Theory of Hegemonic Stability” Lecture Notes Link: Mount Holyoke College: Professor Vincent Ferraro’s The Theory of Hegemonic Stability Lecture Notes (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read through Professor Vincent Ferraro’s lecture notes on Hegemonic Stability Theory. There is a wonderful list of additional resources at the end of Professor Ferraro’s notes, if this is a topic you are interested in researching further.
 
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2.2 Liberalism   - Lecture: iTunes U: American University: Professor Patrick Jackson’s “Liberalism” Lecture Link: iTunes U: American University: Professor Patrick Jackson’s Liberalism Lecture (iTunes U)
 
Instructions: Select “View in iTunes” for lecture 2 titled “Liberalism” and listen to Professor Patrick Jackson’s lecture.

 Listening to this lecture should take approximately 30 minutes.   
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.2.1 Collective Security   - Reading: Middle East Studies Online Journal: Henry U. Ufombo’s “Collective Security or The Security of The Hegemony: The United States Policy in The Middle East and The Two Gulf Wars” Link: Middle East Studies Online Journal: Henry U. Ufombo’s “Collective Security or The Security of The Hegemony: The United States Policy in The Middle East and The Two Gulf Wars” (HTML)

 Instructions: This article offers a strong critique of U.S. foreign
policy in Iraq in two Gulf Wars. As you read, focus on the author’s
definition and conceptualization of collective security and
critically evaluate his main arguments as well. To what extent do
you agree that the U.S. has used the construct of collective
security to its own ends? Try to formulate at least three
counterarguments.   

 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 France
license](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/fr/). It
is attributed to Henry U. Ufombo.

2.2.2 International Cooperation   - Reading: Princeton University: Professor Allen Buchanan’s and Professor Robert Keohane’s “The Legitimacy of Global Governance Institutions” Link: Princeton University: Professor Allen Buchanan’s and Professor Robert Keohane’s The Legitimacy of Global Governance Institutions (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read this article, which can be accessed by scrolling down the webpage and click the link with the title of the article, “The Legitimacy of Global Governance Institutions.”  
  
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2.3 Constructivism   - Lecture: Kittenboo.com: Professor Patrick Jackson’s “World Politics 2010 Podcast #3: Constructivism” Lecture Link: Kittenboo.com: Professor Patrick Jackson’s “World Politics 2010 Podcast #3: Constructivism” (QuickTime)
 
Instructions: Listen to Professor Patrick Jackson’s lecture on Constructivism in its entirety. Please note that QuickTime is required to launch the lecture.

 Listening to this lecture should take approximately 1 hour.   
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.4 Marxism   - Reading: California State University, Los Angeles: Professor Timothy Lim’s “Lecture 5B: Theory in International Relations: Marxism” and Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Jonathan Wolff’s “Karl Marx” Links: California State University, Los Angeles: Professor Timothy Lim’s “Lecture 5B: Theory in International Relations: Marxism” (PDF) and Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Jonathan Wolff’s “Karl Marx” (HTML) 
 
Instructions: To access Professor Lim’s lecture, scroll down to “Lecture 5-b (April 26).”  Click on the link “Theory in International Relations: Marxism” to read the PDF file. Then, read the entry on Karl Marx from The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.