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Cover Introduction to Politics

18. Critical Approaches to Global Politics  

Stephanie Lawson

This chapter examines seven critical approaches to global politics: Marxism, Critical Theory, constructivism, feminism, postmodernism, postcolonial theory, and green theory. In their book The Manifesto of the Communist Party, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels address the implications for global order of the rise of capitalism and the role of the bourgeoisie as controllers of capital. Their ideas have had a major influence on critical approaches to virtually all aspects of both domestic and global politics. The chapter considers some major strands of Marxist-influenced theory of direct relevance to global politics, including dependency theory, world-system theory, Gramscian theory, and Frankfurt School theory. It also discusses gender theory and compares postmodern/poststructural approaches to global politics with Critical Theory and constructivism in International Relations.

Chapter

Cover Introduction to Politics

4. Democracy and Political Obligation  

Robert Garner

This chapter examines the claim that democracy is the ideal form of political obligation. It first traces the historical evolution of the term ‘democracy’ before discussing the debate between advocates of the protective theory and the participatory theory of democracy, asking whether it is possible to reconcile elitism with democracy and whether participatory democracy is politically realistic. The chapter proceeds to explain why democracy is viewed as the major grounding for political obligation, with emphasis on the problem of majority rule and what to do with the minority consequences of majoritarianism. It documents the contemporary malaise experienced by democracy and seeks to explain its perceived weaknesses as a form of rule. Finally, the chapter describes the new directions that democratic theory has taken in recent years, focusing on four theories: associative democracy, cosmopolitan democracy, deliberative democracy, and ecological democracy.

Chapter

Cover Introduction to Politics

17. Traditional Theories in Global Politics  

Stephanie Lawson

This chapter examines traditional theories in global politics. It begins with a discussion of early liberal approaches, with particular emphasis on liberal international theory whose proponents include U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and Norman Angell. Liberal international theory is characterised by an optimism concerning the prospects of a peaceful international order established through strong international institutions underpinned by international law. The chapter proceeds by considering the emergence of ‘realism’ as a general approach to the study of politics, along with the different approaches to the study of international politics following World War II, including positivism. It also explores the rise of the English School and the concept of international society before concluding with an analysis of neo-liberalism and neorealism that resulted from revisions of both liberalism and realism in the post-war period.