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Book

Edited by Tim Dunne, Milja Kurki, and Steve Smith

The fifth edition of this text provides coverage of international relations theories and arguments. The chapters explore the full spectrum of theoretical perspectives and debates, ranging from the historically dominant traditions of realism, liberalism, and Marxism to poststructuralism, green theory, and Global IR. Each chapter is dedicated to a particular theory and features a case study that bridges theory and practice, and shows how theory can be used to explain real-world political dilemmas. Spotlights on key books and articles encourage readers to go beyond the textbook and explore important works in the field, and new case study questions encourage analytical thinking and help readers understand the value of applying theory to concrete political problems.

Chapter

This chapter analyses and assesses the movement towards a more Global IR. The chapter first revisits the origins of IR. While the foundational narrative stresses the origin of IR as a normative project of avoiding war in Europe, obscuring the discipline’s colonial and racist aspects, this chapter highlights broader concerns and contributions from the periphery, such as anti-colonialism, racism, underdevelopment, and world order. The second part captures IR’s neglect and lack of fit with non-Western experiences during the postwar phase of Americanization with the help of a case study—of the liberal order—and the seminal work of Mohammed Ayoob dealing with Third World Security. Part three examines efforts in various parts of the world to develop arguments and positions that question the universality of the discipline and aspire to inject greater diversity into IR. It is argued here that such regional contributions to IR need not undermine the globalization of IR theory but can complement and enrich it in the path to a Global IR.

Chapter

Sierens Vivien and Ramona Coman

This chapter studies causation, which occupies a central place in the social sciences. In their attempts to understand and explain ‘why’ social, economic, and political phenomena occur, scholars have dealt with causality in many different ways. The way to define and observe causal relationships has always been at the heart of harsh academic debates in social as well as natural sciences. Drawing on distinctive ontological and epistemological standpoints, at least four different understandings of causation have emerged in political science. Most authors have adopted a correlational-probabilistic understanding of causation, but some have preferred a configurational one, while others have adopted a mechanistic or even a counterfactual understanding. To illustrate the concrete methodological challenges generated by this theoretical pluralism, the chapter discusses how scholars have dealt with causality to explain the impact of European integration on domestic policies and institutions.

Chapter

Louis M. Imbeau, Sule Tomkinson, and Yasmina Malki

This chapter assesses descriptive, explanatory, and interpretive approaches. ‘Description’, ‘explanation’, and ‘interpretation’ are distinct stages of the research process. Description makes the link between what is to be described and a concept and its empirical referent. It defines a way to understand empirical reality, as variations, significations, or processes. Description refers to the ‘what’ question, as the first step towards explanation. When it comes to answering the ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions, some social scientists differentiate between explanation and interpretation. For them, the aim of social sciences is to ‘understand’, that is, to uncover the meanings of individuals’ or groups’ actions through the interpretation of their beliefs and discourses, whereas the aim of natural sciences is to ‘explain’, that is, to establish causality and general laws. The chapter presents an approach which offers a broader perspective for the social sciences, advocating an explanatory pluralism that allows for a more ecumenical approach.

Chapter

This chapter examines the notion of power in relation to authority and the state. Power and authority are central concepts in politics. Politics is about competing interests and values, and this requires knowing something about power, since those who have power over others can determine which interests and values will be adopted by political decision-makers. The chapter first considers the link between power and authority before discussing the classic threefold typology of authority proposed by Max Weber: traditional authority, charismatic authority, and legal–rational authority. It then explores some conceptual questions about power; for example, whether it is the same as force, or whether it must be exercised deliberately. It also evaluates the methodological problems inherent in the measurement of power, particularly in relation to the different theories of the state such as pluralism, elitism, and Marxism.

Chapter

Robert Garner

This chapter explains why the state and sovereignty are relevant to the study of politics. It first provides an empirical typology of the state, ranging from the minimalist night-watchman state, approximated to by nineteenth-century capitalist regimes at one end of the spectrum, to the totalitarian state of the twentieth century at the other. It then examines the distribution of power in the state by focusing on three major theories of the state: pluralism, elitism, Marxism, as well as New Right theory. The chapter seeks to demonstrate that the theories of the state identified can also be critiqued normatively, so that pluralism, for instance, can be challenged for its divisive character, as exemplified by identity politics. It then goes on to review different views about what the role of the state ought to be, from the minimalist state recommended by adherents of classical liberalism, to the pursuit of distinctive social objectives as recommended, in particular, by proponents of communitarianism. Finally, it discusses empirical and normative challenges to the state and asks whether the state’s days are numbered.

Chapter

This chapter examines power and authority, two central concepts in politics, in relation to the state. It first defines power in the context of authority, taking into account the distinction between them by citing the role of the US Supreme Court as an example. It then considers the classic threefold typology of authority proposed by German sociologist Max Weber, namely: traditional authority, charismatic authority, and legal–rational authority. It also addresses some conceptual questions about power; for example, whether power is the same as force, whether it must be exercised deliberately, whether it is a good thing, or whether we can eliminate it. The chapter goes on to explore the methodological problems inherent in the measurement of power, particularly in relation to the theories of the state such as Marxism, pluralism, elitism, and feminism. Finally, it describes Stephen Lukes' three dimensions of power.

Chapter

This chapter discusses the importance of the state and sovereignty to the study of politics. It first provides an empirical typology of the state, from the minimalist night-watchman state to the totalitarian state, before considering various theories of the state such as Marxism, pluralism, elitism, and the New Right. Two key general points about these competing theories are examined. First, an organizing theme relates to what each of these theories say about the distribution of power. Second, the theories can be analysed in both empirical and normative terms. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the claim that the state has significantly declined in importance, mainly as a result of economic globalization.

Chapter

This chapter examines the International Society tradition of international relations (IR). International Society, also known as the ‘English School’, is an approach to world politics that places emphasis on international history, ideas, structures, institutions, and values. After providing an overview of International Society’s basic assumptions and claims, the chapter considers the three traditions associated with the leading ideas of the most outstanding classical theorists of IR such as Niccolò Machiavelli and Immanuel Kant: realism, rationalism, and revolutionism. It then explores International Society’s views regarding order and justice, world society, statecraft and responsibility, and humanitarian responsibility and war; as well as how International Society scholars have used a historical approach to understand earlier international systems and the development of international society. It also discusses several major criticisms against the International Society approach to IR and concludes with an overview of the current research agenda of International Society.

Chapter

This chapter examines the International Society tradition of international relations (IR). International Society, also known as the ‘English School’, is an approach to world politics that places emphasis on international history, ideas, structures, institutions, and values. After providing an overview of International Society’s basic assumptions and claims, the chapter considers the three traditions associated with the leading ideas of the most outstanding classical theorists of IR such as Niccolò Machiavelli and Immanuel Kant: realism, rationalism, and revolutionism. It then explores International Society’s views regarding order and justice, world society, statecraft and responsibility, and humanitarian responsibility and war; as well as how International Society scholars have used a historical approach to understand earlier international systems and the development of international society. It also discusses several major criticisms against the International Society approach to IR and concludes with an overview of the research agenda of International Society after the Cold War.

Chapter

6. The Media and Agenda-Setting  

Political Turbulence

This chapter addresses media in politics, including newspapers, television, the internet, and social media. It seeks to answer the question of how influential the media is over politics, in areas such as voting behaviour. This discussion gives a broad overview of politics and the media, about the agenda of politics and its framing, and what shapes it. The chapter then covers the classic question of the influence of the media in British politics. It also considers the importance of social media, and how it is now part of all media today, especially in relation to elections and referendums. Finally, the chapter looks at media and social media campaigning in elections. It introduces the concept of chaotic pluralism as a way of characterizing today's social media-dominated and fluid political environment.

Chapter

Roland Erne

This chapter examines the role that interest groups play in political systems across time and space. Many scholars define interest groups as voluntary organizations that appeal to government but do not participate in elections. In a comparative context, however, this formal definition is problematic as the form of interest representation varies across countries. An alternative suggestion is to distinguish ‘public’ and ‘private interest groups’, but the term ‘public interest’ is problematic because of its contentious nature. The chapter begins with a review of different definitions of interest groups and the problems associated with each. It then considers the legacies of competing theoretical traditions in the field, namely republicanism, pluralism, and neocorporatism. It also discusses the role of interest associations in practice, distinguishing different types of action that are available to different groups, including direct lobbying, political exchange, contentious politics, and private interest government.

Book

Contemporary Political Philosophy has been revised to include many of the most significant developments in Anglo-American political philosophy in the last eleven years, particularly the new debates on political liberalism, deliberative democracy, civic republicanism, nationalism, and cultural pluralism. The text now includes two new chapters on citizenship theory and multiculturalism, in addition to updated chapters on utilitarianism, liberal egalitarianism, libertarianism, socialism, communitarianism, and feminism. The many thinkers discussed include G. A. Cohen, Ronald Dworkin, William Galston, Carol Gilligan, R. M. Hare, Catherine Mackinnon, David Miller, Philippe Van Parijs, Susan Okin, Robert Nozick, John Rawls, John Roemer, Michael Sandel, Charles Taylor, Michael Walzer, and Iris Young.