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Book

Cover Democracies and Authoritarian Regimes

Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Natasha Lindstaedt, and Erica Frantz

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 Global Politics

2. States, Nations, and Empires  

This chapter discusses what is often regarded as the central institution, not only of domestic or national political order but also of current international or global order—the state. Alongside the state, we must also consider the idea of the nation and the ideology of nationalism—perhaps the most powerful political ideology to emerge in the modern world. There is, however, another form of international political order that has actually been far more common throughout history, and that is empire. With the rise of modernity from around the beginning of the seventeenth century, we also encounter the rise of the modern state and state system in Europe along with ideas about sovereignty, citizenship, the nation-state, and democracy. The chapter then looks at the effective globalization of the European state system through modern imperialism and colonialism and the extent to which these have been productive of contemporary global order.

Chapter

Cover International Relations Theories

15. International Relations Theory and Globalization  

Colin Hay

This chapter examines the existing debate on the extent and nature of globalization and its implications for contemporary International Relations theory. It first considers the stakes involved in the globalization debate for a range of core theoretical perspectives in IR. It shows how the literature on globalization has developed over time, revealing how the nature of the debate has changed, and illustrates this both theoretically and empirically with a case study of the impact of globalization on the development of the welfare state before and since the global financial crisis. The chapter also considers the empirical case against the globalization thesis, what a competition state is, and how it might confer a competitive advantage upon a national economy in an era of globalization. The chapter suggests that the current level of interdependence within the international system, although considerable, is not easily reconciled with the stronger variants of the globalization thesis.

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

7. The International Context  

Hakan Yilmaz

This chapter examines the major theoretical approaches to the issue of the international context of democratization. In particular, it considers democratization by means of ‘convergence’, ‘system penetration’, ‘internationalization of domestic politics’, and ‘diffusion’. It also discusses the principal dimensions of the international context, namely, the democracy promotion strategies of the United States and the European Union. The term ‘conditionality’ is used to describe the democracy promotion strategy of the EU. In the case of the United States, its leverage with respect to democracy promotion has been undermined by its military intervention and violation of human rights. The chapter concludes with an analysis of the effects of globalization and the formation of a global civil society on democratization.

Chapter

Cover Global Political Economy

8. The Evolution of the International Monetary and Financial System  

Eric Helleiner and Melsen Babe

This chapter explores the international monetary and financial system, which plays a central role in the global political economy (GPE). Since the late nineteenth century, the nature of this system has undergone several pivotal transformations in response to changing political and economic conditions at both domestic and international levels. The first was the collapse of the integrated pre-1914 international monetary and financial regime during the interwar years. The second transformation took place after the Second World War, when the Bretton Woods order was put in place. Since the early 1970s, various features of the Bretton Woods order have unravelled with the globalization of finance, the collapse of the gold exchange standard, and the breakdown of the adjustable peg exchange rate regime. These changes have important political consequences for the key issue of who gets what, when, and how in the GPE.

Chapter

Cover Global Political Economy

5. The Evolution of the Global Trade Regime  

Silke Trommer

This chapter details the history, politics, and recent trends and challenges of the multilateral trade system. The twentieth century witnessed a remarkable emergence of international institutions, and nowhere was their impact greater than in international trade. Following decades of depression and war, a global trading regime was initiated with the creation of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1947, which expanded steadily in both scope and membership through the twentieth century and culminated in the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995. Underpinned by the philosophy that open markets and non-discriminatory trade policies promote the prosperity of all countries, and issued with a powerful dispute settlement mechanism, the WTO has been hailed as the most prominent example of cooperation between countries. At the same time, however, the WTO has been subject to internal and external criticism and now faces a number of difficulties.

Chapter

Cover The Globalization of World Politics

4. From the end of the cold war to a new world dis-order?  

Michael Cox

This chapter provides a broad overview of the international system between the end of the cold war— when many claimed that liberalism and the West had triumphed— through to the second decade of the twenty-first century, when the West itself and the liberal economic order it had hitherto promoted appeared to be coming under increased pressure from political forces at home and new challenges abroad. But before we turn to the present, the chapter will look at some of the key developments since 1989—including the Clinton presidency, the George W. Bush administration’s foreign policy following the attacks of 9/11, the 2008 financial crash, the crisis in Europe, the transitions taking place in the global South, the origins of the upheavals now reshaping the Middle East, the political shift from Barack Obama to Donald Trump, the emergence of Asia, and the rise of China. The chapter then concludes by examining two big questions: first, is power now shifting away from the West, and second, to what extent does the current wave of populism in the West threaten globalization and the liberal order?