Theories of International Relations: The Classical Debates
This course aims at making students acquainted with the main stages of the evolution of IR as a discipline since 1945 which can be seen as an ongoing debate about the explanatory value of one particular theory, namely Realism. The purpose of the course is twofold. First, to introduce students to the possibilities and limits of theoretical studies in IR. The course should allow students to be-come aware of different ways of seeing and understanding inter-national affairs. It is based on the practical distinction between the explanatory and constitutive function of theories. It should show not only how one can use theories to analyse “given” events, but how the determination and analysis of these very events is itself constructed by different theories. This should enhance the students' abilities to uncover implicit methodological and theoretical assumptions. Second, this awareness should be seen as a starting point for learning how to translate ideas, however incompletely, from one theory to another. Students are invited to think about how to question their own ideas, and also to make them understandable and persuasive to those of their peers who are not sharing the same theoretical (or political) assumptions. In this respect, it can be seen as an exercise in practical diplomacy.
The course does not require a prior knowledge of social or political theory, but the latter would certainly not harm. It does require, however, that students be interested in abstract thinking.
1. Seminar presentation (10%) and paper (50%). Students are expected to introduce one of the seminars. They can write their final paper on this seminar topic, but can also choose another one (after consultation with the lecturer). Except for the topics at the very beginning of the term, a presentation is not a simple synthesis of readings, but an independent development of a chosen topic. The final version of the paper is due before the last week of the term.
2. Readings (30%). Students are expected to read compulsory readings for individual sessions and to prepare three “position-papers”. This paper should ideally include a succinct summary of the main thesis of the text as well comments and questions about the reading. Please make clear what you did not understand (this does not diminish the grade). These position papers serve as an important feedback. Some of the points that were not understood can then be explained during the seminar.
3. Participation (10%).
I. GENERAL INTRODUCTION
Week 0: General introduction
Week 1: Introduction - IR as a discipline
Seminar 1: “What are theories of IR good for?'
Michael Oakeshott, “The study of ‘politics’ in a university”, in Rationalism and other essays (Indianapolis: Liberty, 1991): 184-218
Raymond Aron, Peace and War, 1-18.
II. THE FIRST DEBATE: REALISM vs. IDEALISM
Week 2: The origins of the debate
Seminar 3: The crisis of collective security
E.H. Carr, The Twenty Years' Crisis, 2nd ed. (London: Macmillan, 1946):22-94.
Check also the chapters by Michael Smith, Charles Jones and Tim Dunne on E.H. Carr.
Seminar 4: Against rationalism in politics
Hans J. Morgenthau, Scientific Man vs. Power Politics, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1946): 1-40, 204-223.
See also: Oakeshott, “Scientific Politics”, in Religion, Politics and the Moral Life, ed. with an introduction by Timothy Fuller (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1993): 97-110
Week 3: The beginnings of the new paradigm
Seminar 5: “Only in America”
Stanley Hoffmann, “An American Social Science: International Relations”, Dædalus, 1977, 3: 41-60, reprinted in Janus and Minerva: Essays in International Theory and Practice.
See also Steve Smith, “The Development of International Relations as a Social Science”, in Millennium, 1987, 2: 189-206.
Seminar 6: “Politics Among Nations”
Hans J. Morgenthau, Politics Among Nations, 1-16.
See also Michael Smith, chapter 6, 134-164; Brian Schmidt, chapter 6, 189-225.
Week 4: Realism and US foreign policy during the Cold War
Seminar 7: Kennan and the origins of containment
George F. Kennan, American Diplomacy 1900-1950 (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1951): 107-154.
See also John Lewis Gaddis, Strategies of Containment (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982): 1-88.
Seminar 8: Realism and détente
Henry A. Kissinger, A World Restored, 145-213; 312-332.
Henry A. Kissinger, White House Years (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1979): 54-70.
See also: Stanley Hoffmann, Primacy or World Order (New York: McGraw Hill, 1978), chapter 2; John Lewis Gaddis, Strategies of Containment, 198-273.
III. THE SECOND DEBATE: SCIENTISM vs. TRADITIONALISM
Week 5: The Second Debate
Seminar 9: Theory or History?
Martin Wight, “Why Is There No International Theory?”, in Herbert Butterfield and Martin Wight (eds), Diplomatic Investigations: Essays in the Theory of International Relations (London: George Allen & Unwin): 17-34.
Hans Morgenthau, “The Intellectual and Political Functions of Theory”, in Truth and Power: Essays of a Decade, 1960-1970 (New York: Praeger): 248-261.
Seminar 10: Tradition or Science?
Hedley Bull, “International Theory: The Case for a Classical Approach”, in Contending Approaches to International Politics, ed. Klaus Knorr and James N. Rosenau (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969): 20-38.
Morton A. Kaplan, “The New Great Debate: Traditionalism vs. Science in International Relations”, in Contending Approaches, 39-61.
See also Roderick C. Ogley, “International Relations: Poetry, Prescription or Science?” in Millennium, 1981, 10, 2: 170-86.
Week 6: Advance of the Third Image
Seminar 11: Right and wrong questions
John Herz, “Idealist Internationalism and the Security Dilemma”, in World Politics, 1950: 157-180.
Kenneth Waltz, Man, the State and War: A Theoretical Analysis (New York: Columbia University Press, 1959): 1-15.
Seminar 12: Going Scientific
Waltz, Man, the State and War, 159-186.
Waltz, Man, the State and War, 187-223.
Week 7: The balance of power: theory or description?
Seminar 12: The history of the balance of power
Morgenthau, Politics Among Nations, 183-216.
Ernst B. Haas, “The Balance of Power: Prescription, Concept, or Propaganda?”, in World Politics, 1953, 4, 442-477.
See also: Hedley Bull, The Anarchical Society, 101-126.
Seminar 13: The balance of power as an explanatory concept
Inis Claude, “The balance of power revisited”, in Review of International Studies, 1989, 77-85.
Inis Claude, Power and International Relations (New York: Random House, 1962): 3-39.
See also the special issue of the Review of International Studies, vol. 15, 75ff.
Week 8: Objective laws for advising the prince?
Seminar 14: “National Interest” - more than a symbol?
Arnold Wolfers, Discord and Collaboration (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1962): 147-166.
Seminar 15: Scientific reason and Raison d’État
Raymond Aron, Peace and War, 21-93.
Week 9: The English School of International Relations
Seminar 16: Thinking in threes
Martin Wight, International Theory: The Three Traditions (Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1991): 7-48.
Hedley Bull, “Society and Anarchy in International Relations”, in Diplomatic Investigations, 35-50.
Seminar 17: International Society
Hedley Bull, “The Grotian Conception of International Society”, in Diplomatic Investigations, 51-73.
Ian Clark, “Traditions of Thought and Classical Theories of International Relations”, in Ian Clark and Iver B. Neumann eds. Classical Theories of International Relations (London: Macmillan Press Ltd., 1996): 1-19
IV. THE THIRD DEBATE: REALISM vs. GLOBALISM
Week 10: Transnational relations and world politics
Seminar 18: Transnational relations
Robert O. Keohane and Joseph S. Nye, Transnational Relations and World Politics (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1971): IX-XXIX, 371-398.
Seminar 19: Power and interdependence
Robert O. Keohane and Joseph S. Nye, Power and Interdependence: World Politics in Transition (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1977), Part I.
Week 11: Dependency and world systems
Seminar 20: Dependency theory and its critics
Theotonio Dos Santos, “The Structure of Dependence”, in American Economic Review, 1971, 231-236.
Fernando Henrique Cardoso, “Associated-Dependent Development: Theoretical and Practical Implications”, in Authoritarian Brazil: Origins, Policies and Future (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1973): 142-176.
Fernando Henrique Cardoso, “The Consumption of Dependency Theory in the United States”, in Latin American Research Review, 1977, 7-24.
Sanjaya Lall, “Is ‘Dependence’ a Useful Concept in Analysing Underdevelopment?”, in World Development, 1975, 799-810.
Seminar 21: World system analysis and its critics
Immanuel Wallerstein, “The Rise and Future Demise of the World-Capitalist System: Concepts for Comparative Analysis”, in Capitalist World Economy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1974): 387-415.
Theda Skočpol, “Wallerstein’s World Capitalist System: A Theoretical and Historical Critique”, in American Journal of Sociology, 1977, 1075-1090.
Week 12: Conclusion