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Chapter

Cover Global Politics

4. Critical Approaches to Global Politics  

This chapter investigates critical approaches to global politics. While liberal and realist theorists probe each other’s ideas for faults and weaknesses, neither have challenged capitalism and its implications for social, economic, and political order. Marxism, on the other hand, which developed around the mid-nineteenth century, has provided very different perspectives and presents a significant challenge for mainstream approaches to global order in both theory and practice. Post-Marxist Critical Theory, along with historical sociology and world-systems theory, emerged in the twentieth century, giving rise to schools of thought which continue the critique of capitalism and the social and political forces underpinning it. Meanwhile, ideas arising from social theory, such as the extent to which perceptions of reality are socially conditioned and indeed ‘constructed’, achieved greater prominence following the end of the Cold War, an event which prompted many scholars to start asking new questions about global politics and the assumptions on which traditional theories rested. Constructivism, postmodernism, and poststructuralism remain concerned with issues of power and justice but provide different lenses through which these issues may be viewed in the sphere of global politics.

Chapter

Cover International Relations Theories

7. Marxism  

Mark Rupert

This chapter examines Marxist theory’s understanding of capitalism as an historically particular way of organizing social life and how Marxism can shed light on complex social relationships through which human beings produce and reproduce their social relations, the natural world, and themselves. It argues that the kind of social organization envisioned by Marxists has political, cultural, and economic dimensions that must be viewed as a dynamic ensemble of social relations not necessarily contained within the territorial boundaries of nation-states. The chapter first provides an overview of historical materialism and the meaning of dialectical theory, with particular emphasis on Karl Marx’s critique of capitalism and the Marxist tradition’s theorizing of imperialism, before discussing Western Marxism and Antonio Gramsci’s theory of hegemony. It then considers Marxist concepts of global power and hegemony and concludes with a case study that highlights the social relations underlying US global militarism.

Book

Cover Global Politics

Aggie Hirst, Diego de Merich, Joe Hoover, and Roberto Roccu

Global Politics: Myths and Mysteries provides an introduction to key concepts in international relations, aiming to expose the myths of the discipline. The text starts off with an introduction to the topic asking the question: what exactly is myth-making? The chapters then look at key concepts in turn, starting with politics and power. They move on to examine ethics, violence, and law. Next the text analyses the world of finance with a chapter on money. Empire is the subject of the chapter that follows. The last two chapters cover capitalism and state. Finally, the text concludes and considers the notion of change as it relates to global politics.

Chapter

Cover Global Politics

9. Capitalism  

This chapter looks into the mystery as to why many people think that capitalism is the only viable economic system. Globalisation has significantly transformed the economic lives of people, and this is visible on an everyday level. Beyond the process of production, capitalism also goes hand in hand with social transformations such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter campaign. Since capitalism is a deeply political system with far-reaching effects on the international system, the chapter explores the myth that capitalism operates as a system of free enterprise independent of state involvement. Additionally, it considers the importance of reflecting on new ways of thinking about capitalism and how a world after capitalism might look.

Chapter

Cover Democratization

8. The Political Economy of Democracy  

Patrick Bernhagen

This chapter examines the relationship between democratization and the economy. It first provides an historical overview of the emergence of capitalist democracy before discussing some general problems of the relationship between democracy and capitalism, highlighting the main areas in which the two systems condition each other. It then considers the role of business in democratizing countries, and more specifically the role of business actors in the transition to democracy. It also explores the intricacies of combining major political and economic reforms. Some key points are emphasized; for example, capitalism focuses on property rights while democracy focuses on personal rights. Furthermore, capitalism produces inequality, which can both stimulate and hamper democratization.

Chapter

Cover US Foreign Policy

18. Global economy  

Peter Gowan and Doug Stokes

This chapter examines some of the central debates on how we should understand the United States’ efforts to reshape international economic relations since the 1940s. It first considers debates on the sources and mechanisms of American economic strategy before turning to debates about the substance of American efforts to shape the global economy. It approaches the debates about the substance of U.S. foreign economic policy since 1945 by classifying varying perspectives on this question in three alternative images. The first such image is that of America as the promoter of a cooperative, multilateral order in international economics. The second image is that of an American economic nationalism and the third is that of an American empire. The chapter goes on to analyse the global financial crisis and concludes with an overview of some of the main current debates about the strength of American capitalism in the world economy.

Chapter

Cover The Globalization of World Politics

8. Marxist theories of international relations  

Stephen Hobden and Richard Wyn Jones

This chapter examines the contribution of Marxism to the study of international relations. It first considers whether globalization is a new phenomenon or a long-standing feature of capitalist development, and whether ‘crisis’ is an inevitable feature of capitalism, and if so, whether capitalism contains the seeds of its own destruction. The chapter proceeds by discussing a number of core features common to Marxist approaches as well as the internationalization of Karl Marx's ideas by Vladimir Lenin and subsequently by writers in the world-system framework. It also explains how Frankfurt School critical theory, and Antonio Gramsci and his various followers, introduced an analysis of culture into Marxist analysis. Two case studies are presented, the first relating to capitalist developments in Communist China, the second looks at the global Covid-19 pandemic and considers the social impact and patterns of impact in a global setting.

Chapter

Cover Contemporary Security Studies

4. Historical Materialism  

Eric Herring

This chapter begins with an overview of the social scientific, philosophical, and political dimensions of historical materialism (HM). This overview is followed by an elaboration of what HM involves, including its diversity, value, and potential but avoidable pitfalls. Key HM concepts are set out and used to show how capitalism generally and in its recent neoliberal form aims to generate insecurity for labour and security for capital. Rather than being a narrow approach to security that focuses on economics, at its best, HM is a holistic approach that provides a way of putting into perspective and relating the many components of security. It goes on to explore the relationships between HM and approaches to security in wider contexts (realism, liberalism, social constructivism, and gender) and then to various perspectives on security (securitization and the sectoral approach, peace studies, Critical Security Studies, and human security). Accompanying the text are Think Point 4.1 on using HM to understand arms production and the arms trade, and Think Point 4.2 on using HM to understand the connections between development and security. The conclusion provides an overall assessment of the contribution of HM to the scholarship and politics of security and insecurity.

Chapter

Cover The Globalization of World Politics

7. Marxist theories of international relations  

Stephen Hobden and Richard Wyn Jones

This chapter examines the contribution of Marxism to the study of international relations. It first considers whether globalization is a new phenomenon or a long-standing feature of capitalist development, and whether ‘crisis’ is an inevitable feature of capitalism, and if so, whether capitalism contains the seeds of its own destruction. The chapter proceeds by discussing a number of core features common to Marxist approaches as well as the internationalization of Karl Marx's ideas by Vladimir Lenin and subsequently by writers in the world-system framework. It also explains how Frankfurt School critical theory, and Antonio Gramsci and his various followers, introduced an analysis of culture into Marxist analysis as well as the more recent ‘return to Marx’. Two case studies are presented, one relating to the Naxalite movement in India and the other focusing on the recent experience of Greece. There is also an Opposing Opinions box that asks whether the global economy is the prime determinant of the character of world politics.

Chapter

Cover Contemporary Terrorism Studies

19. Is Terrorism Effective?  

Diego Muro

This chapter examines the effectiveness of terrorism in delivering tactical returns. It shows how terrorism is largely ineffective in realising strategic goals. Political goals vary and include secession, overthrowing capitalism, and expelling an occupying force. Additionally, the tactical use of terrorism brings cohesion to a group's organization, ideology, goals, and constituencies. There is no consensus among scholars with regards to the political returns of terrorism. This is due to the methodological problems inherent in the controversy. The chapter then explores the advantages and disadvantages of using coercive intimidation to pursue political conclusions. It includes future studies that may be more inclusive, methodical, and productive.

Chapter

Cover Contemporary Security Studies

10. Human Security  

Randolph B. Persaud

This chapter examines the concept of human security. It does so in descriptive, analytical, and empirical terms, drawing on both the scholarly and policy-relevant literatures. The chapter describes the development of human security, with references to the academic literature where necessary. Accordingly, the emergence, contribution, and impact of the most important drivers of human security, especially in institutional terms, are examined. These include the 1994 UNDP Human Development Report (HDR), the Commission for Human Security, the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, the Millennium Development Goals, and the International Criminal Court. The chapter takes up a recurring question about the newness of human security by looking at its intellectual and institutional genealogy. The chapter provides a detailed overview of the most trenchant critiques of human security. These critiques are placed into the following categories—too broad to be useful; national interest and co-optation; reformist tool of global capitalism; and neo-colonialism.

Chapter

Cover Introduction to International Relations: Theories and Approaches

10. Major Issues in IPE: Economic versus Political Power, Development, Globalization, How to Study the Real World  

This chapter examines four major issues in International Political Economy (IPE). The first concerns power and the relationship between politics and economics, and more specifically whether politics is in charge of economics or whether it is the other way around. The second issue deals with development and underdevelopment in developing countries. The third is about the nature and extent of economic globalization, and currently takes places in a context of increasing inequality between and inside countries. The fourth and final issue concerns how to study the real world from an IPE perspective and it pits the hard science American School against the more qualitative and normative British School.