Approaches to Global Politics

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Approaches of Global Politics Unit 3D
State Centric:
State centric study was seen to be giving an incomplete picture of the way the world works or
was ignoring other actors of influence.
The Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of a state were defined as: possessing a
defend territory; a permanent population, effective govt. etc. This meant that the emergence of
new global actors of influence, the north on interdependence and interconnectedness, the
erosion of the domestic;/international divide and the rise of global governance beyond the
The emergence of new global actors has meant that the state centric study has moved to a
mixed actor model, including TNCs, NGOs, Terrorist Organisations (Al Qaeda), Google Apple
and a host of other actors that may have an impact on global politics.
The move from independance to interdependence detracts from the state-centric study of IR.
The `billiard ball model' is that all states are self-contained sovereign units that have outer
relations that enable interaction. Within this model, security is what matters, power and primary
concerns; war and peace is the basis of relationships. However, there are some states more
important than others titled `great powers'.
This model is now being contested, with increased levels of interdependence as states tackle
wider problems of trade, pandemics, conflicts and such global matters.
Also known as the cobweb model.
There also has traditionally been a separation between the domestic and the international from
a number of perspectives:
First, there is no connection between the domestic and the international govts have internal and
external concerns; they do not impact each other.
Second, inside a state there is political order and clear rules outside a states there is little order
and rules are harder to enforce.
Third, states are where self-contained societies exist.
However, a substantial growth in cross-border flows of people, goods, money and ideas have
become increasingly porous e.g. migration. Also, states have been vulnerable to economic
crises in other countries (Eurozone Crisis). Arguably, states have become `borderless'.
International anarchy to Global Governance:
- Hadley Bull wrote about `anarchic society'. He like many argue that you cannot set into rules,
states live in a sphere of anarchy.

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Approaches of Global Politics Unit 3D
- Conflict is only constrained by a balance of power, in a system of self-help. According to
Hadley, war is only adverted, it can never be avoided.
However, international anarchy has been challenged since 1945 with a framework of global
The UN, IMF, WB and amongst other institutions develop a framework for the management of
affairs above the nation state, arguably riding state sovereignty, and are also a `creature of its
most powerful members'.…read more

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Approaches of Global Politics Unit 3D
Westphalia and the Birth of the Sovereign State:
The Westphalian system of sovereign states was established in 1648 as part of the Peace of
Westphalia. There were three core points to the treaty:
· The principle of state sovereignty;
· The principle of (legal) equality of states;
· The principle of non-intervention of one state in the international affairs of another.
Over the years, the Westphalian model became universally accepted, and widely respected.…read more

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Approaches of Global Politics Unit 3D
Global Theories:
Believe that the world is anarchic and should not be viewed from a position of idealism.
Compared to Liberals, they view the world in a rule based system and critical theorists see IR
through the prism of neo-colonialism.
Case Study 1: Britain and WW1
Realists believe that they are closer to reality.…read more

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Approaches of Global Politics Unit 3D
Power is both built on tangible and intangible attributes. Power leads to influence and helps a
country win international contests. Power is also used, often by diplomats, to compare countries.
Lastly, power is relative, not absolute. We can only say that the USA is powerful compared to
others e.g. USA is powerful compared to others through their military capabilities (troops/tech),
GDP, Population, Geography, reputation etc.…read more

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Approaches of Global Politics Unit 3D
power to set the rules and enforce peace by the export of its idealogical culture and the
strength of its military might (Wohliforth). They base this view on two assumptions:
1. the unipole will guarantee the global status quo
2. no state will balance against it.
However, since 1991, USA has been at war for half of these years.…read more

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Approaches of Global Politics Unit 3D
other see it.
e.g. the "Democratic Peace Thesis"
*No two democracies have gone to war with one another
* Democracies are more likely to fight wars with non-democracies;
*'Hotly departed", but factually true... A real problem for "neorealism" since it should not
Key Themes of the Liberal Approach:
1. Commercial or Interdependence Liberalism:
- Developed by Classical economists and `Manchester Liberals'.…read more

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Approaches of Global Politics Unit 3D
possible based upon a collective security and respect for international law.
Neo-liberals argue states can all achieve absolute gains in this rule based world and the
need for great power competition is diminished.
Assessing liberalism in international relations:
The surge of democratisation after the Cold war and the common idea that the world was on a
single path to liberal democracy can be argued to be a hopeful if not flawed analysis.…read more

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Approaches of Global Politics Unit 3D
Radical Theory of International Relations:
- Hard to define as there are a number of theories that can be described as `critical' or `radical';
- Largely these theories critique the two main theoretical analyses and mostly come from
Marxists or those who are left learning;
- Some claim to have `moved-on' from Marxism, instead presenting a `new-left' approach.…read more

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Approaches of Global Politics Unit 3D
is a social construct. Alexander Wendt argues states may be the primary unit of analysis but
states and their interests should be taken for granted. The key structures of the state-system are
`inter-subjective' rather than material in that states can act on the basis of identities and interests
that are socially constructed.…read more



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