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POLSC312: International Organizations

Unit 2: International Relations Theories and International Governance   Numerous theoretical perspectives have evolved in the discipline of international relations.  Among them, you will examine various permutations of Realism, Liberalism, Marxism, and Regime theory.  The focus of the material is the relevant aspects of each theory for international organizations given that this is not a course in ‘IR’ theory.  Hence, core concepts such as the participants in international/global relations, power, sovereignty, and interdependence will shape your studies.  In general, the theories can be separated into two groups: mainstream theories and theories of marginalization.  The first group embraces those theories that emerged to explain the, then perceived to be, principal dynamics of international affairs between discrete participants: inter-state relationships.  In essence, these theories are state-centric or, at the very least, state-oriented.  The latter theories, as a group, attempt to take a more holistic approach to global relationships and thereby emphasize the connections and relationships that characterize ‘have’ and ‘have-not’ interactions in global affairs.  Thus, non-state actors such as individuals, corporations, indigenous peoples, and terrorist groups enter into the equation.  As with the previous unit, historical contexts are a part of our inquiries. 

Unit 2 Time Advisory
This unit should take approximately 9.5  hours to complete.
 
☐    Subunit 2.1: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 2.2: 4 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 2.2.1: 1 hour

☐    Sub-subunit 2.2.2: 1 hour

☐    Sub-subunit 2.2.3: 1 hour

☐    Sub-subunit 2.2.4: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 2.3: 4 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 2.3.1: 1 hour

☐    Sub-subunit 2.3.2: 1 hour

☐    Sub-subunit 2.3.3: 1 hour

☐    Sub-subunit 2.3.4: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 2.4: 0.5 hour

Unit2 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:
- Define the core concepts of IR theory noting the differences between theories. - Compare and contrast the ‘Mainstream’ theories with the theories of ‘Marginalization’ emphasizing their relevance for international governance and government. - Analyze the potential for regimes to contribute to or hinder international governance.

2.1 Overview of IR Theory   As with any academic discipline, the role of theory is imperative to give us analytical leverage when exploring issues in the international arena including the behavior of International Organizations.  International Relations theory allows us to contextualize and provide insights into why and how International Organizations act in the international system.  IR  theory also serves as a framework to predict future behavior of  International Organizations.  We can recognize five broad schools of  IR theory: Realism, Liberalism, Constructivism, Marxism, and Feminism.  As you read the resource below, make sure you are clear on the following questions: (1) What is the organizing principle of the theory?  (2) Who are the main actors in each theoretical framework?  (3) What are the goals of these actors? and  (4) What are the core capabilities of these actors that produces particular patterns of behavior?

  • Reading: The Saylor Foundation’s “An Overview of IR Theory” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “An Overview of IR Theory” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Please read the article in its entirety.
     
    Reading and answering questions should take approximately 1 hour to complete.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.2 How Have the ‘Mainstream’ IR Theories Shaped International Organizations?   As you read through the various mainstream  theories and how they have shaped International Organizations (IOs), make sure you are clear on what each theory says about the following: (1) What explains the emergence of IOs in the last century?  (2) How much power should IOs have in the international system vis-à-vis powerful states?  (3) Can we predict IO behavior?  If so, what variables should we examine? and  (4) What explains cooperation in the international system?

2.2.1 Classic Realism and Neorealism   - Reading: Max Planck Institute: Remi Maier-Riguad’s “International Organizations as Corporate Actors: Agency and Emergence in Theories of International Relations” Link: Max Planck Institute: Remi Maier-Riguad’s “International Organizations as Corporate Actors: Agency and Emergence in Theories of International Relations” (PDF)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above, scroll down to bottom
of the webpage, and select the “Full Text” link to download the PDF
file.  Please read the “Introduction” and “Part I” on pages 1-10.  
    
 Reading and note-taking should take approximately 1 hour to
complete.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.2.2 Liberalism and Neoliberalism   - Reading: e-International Relations: Miriam Dornan’s “Liberal Internationalism” Link: e-International Relations: Miriam Dornan’s “Liberal Internationalism” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the article
in its entirety.  

 This reading should take approximately 1 hour to complete.  

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

2.2.3 Institutionalism and Functionalism   - Reading: University of Ghent: Encyclopedia of Law and Economics: Alexander Thompson and Duncan Snidal’s “International Organization” Link: University of Ghent: Encyclopedia of Law and Economics: Alexander Thompson and Duncan Snidal’s “International Organization” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, scroll down to bottom of the webpage, and select the link for article “#9800” to download the PDF file.  Please read Sections 11 and 12 on pages 707-709.
 
Studying this text should take approximately 30 minutes to complete.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: e-International Relations: Nisreen’s Mansour’s “Neofunctionalism and European Integration: Is It Still a Case of Spillover?” Link: e-International Relations: Nisreen’s Mansour’s “Neofunctionalism and European Integration: Is It Still a Case of Spillover?” (HTML)       
     
    Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the entire article.
     
    This reading should take approximately 30 minutes to complete.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.2.4 Constructivism   - Reading: Journal of International Organization Studies: Ian Hurd’s “Choices and Methods in the Study of International Organizations” Link: Journal of International Organization Studies: Ian Hurd’s “Choices and Methods in the Study of International Organizations” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, and select the link titled “Choices and Methods in the Study of International Organizations” to download the PDF file.  Please read the section on “Constructivism” on pages 18-20.
 
Reading and note-taking should take approximately 1 hour.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.3 How Do Theories of Marginalization Expand Our Studies of International Organizations?   Theories of Marginalization (also described as “critical theory”) challenge the assumptions of ‘Mainstream’ IR theory.  Marxist oriented theory argues that an understanding of the international system requires an analysis that interlinks political outcomes with dynamics that arise out of modern capitalism.  Marxists argue that structures of power in the international system, including prominent IGOs,  are a by-product of the spread of global capitalism that privileges some states, organizations, groups, and individuals while significantly constraining others.  Neo-Marxists focus on the role that ideology plays in facilitating hierarchical power relations in the international system.  Here, the focus is often how global elites, including those who work in prominent IGOs, help restructure and reinforce a global order supportive of the interests of transnational capital.  Dependency and World System theorists focus on the historical dynamics that have produced the dramatic gap in wealth between developed and developing countries.  Feminist theory focuses on issues of patriarchy and gender construction.  As you read through the theories, evaluate if each of these ‘Theories of Marginalization’ makes a relevant contribution to the study of International Organizations.

2.3.1 Marxism & Neo-Marxism   - Reading: International Socialism’s “Gramsci’s Marxism and International Relations” Link: International Socialism’s “Gramsci’s Marxism and International Relations” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the entire article.
 
Reading and note-taking should take approximately 1 hour to complete.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.3.2 Dependency Theory & the Dependentistas   - Reading: Mount Holyoke College: Vincent Ferraro’s “Dependency Theory: An Introduction” Link: Mount Holyoke College: Vincent Ferraro’s “Dependency Theory: An Introduction” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the entire
webpage.  

 This reading should take approximately 1 hour to complete.  

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

2.3.3 World Systems Theory   - Reading: Fordham University: Modern History Sourcebook: Paul Halsall’s version of “Summary of Wallerstein on World System Theory” Link: Fordham University: Modern History Sourcebook: Paul Halsall’s version of “Summary of Wallerstein on World System Theory” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the entire text.
 
This reading should take approximately 1 hour.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.3.4 Feminism   - Reading: Brown University: Watson Institute for International Studies: Annick T.R. Wibben’s “Feminist International Relations: Old Debates and New Direction” Link: Brown University: Watson Institute for International Studies: Annick T.R. Wibben’s “Feminist International Relations: Old Debates and New Direction (PDF)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above, scroll down the
webpage to “Feminist International Relations,” and download and read
complete article.  
    
 This reading should take approximately 1 hour to complete.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.4 What Is Regime Theory and Does It Make a Significant Contribution to IO Studies?   The concept of international regimes emerged during the last quarter century of the 1900s in response to the increasing complexities of international and global governance.  After considerable discussion by scholars in the international relations discipline, the discourse was formalized in “International Regimes," a special issue of the journal International Organization (volume 36 spring 1982).   In essence, an international regime is seen as a collection of regional and/or global participants — states, NGOs, multi- or transnational corporations, IGOs, even individuals — that coalesce around a particular issue, e.g. trade, human rights, disarmament, the environment.  Regimes, then, are not single organizations.  Rather, the participants establish norms, rules, and procedures to facilitate their interaction focused on the issue at hand. 

  • Reading: University of Ghent: Encyclopedia of Law and Economics: Alexander Thompson and Duncan Snidal’s “International Organization” Link: University of Ghent: Encyclopedia of Law and Economics: Alexander Thompson and Duncan Snidal’s “International Organization” (PDF)

    Instructions: Please click on the link above, scroll down to bottom of the webpage, and select the “#9800” link to download the PDF file.  Please read sections 6-10 from pages 698-707.

    This reading should take approximately 30 minutes to complete.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.