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Steven B. Redd, David Brulé, and Alex Mintz
Milton Friedman and Herbert Simon introduced two opposing “schools” of thought in decision-making: the “rational actor” approach and the “cognitive approach,” respectively. Friedman argued that theories should be judged based on the validity of their predictions (“outcome validity”), whereas Simon countered that more emphasis must be placed on “process validity.” Seeking to bridge the gap between the cognitive and rational approaches, in the early 1990s Alex Mintz and colleagues developed poliheuristic theory. The theory is based on five main processing characteristics of decision-making: nonholistic search, dimension-based processing, noncompensatory decision rules, satisficing behavior, and order-sensitive search. A key premise of poliheuristic theory is its reference to the political aspects of decision making in a foreign policy context. Poliheuristic theory is related to Applied Decision Analysis (ADA), an analytic procedure which can be applied to all levels of analysis in foreign policy decision-making: the leader, the group and the coalition. As a bridge between rational and cognitive decision models, poliheuristic theory is uniquely positioned to contribute to progress in the study of world politics. Indeed, despite being relatively new to the discipline of foreign policy analysis, it has enriched our understanding of both the process of decision-making and the outcome of decisions, for example, or the diversionary use of force, international bargaining and negotiation, coalition formation, and terrorists’ decisions. A number of avenues deserve attention in future research on poliheuristic theory, in particularl the use of a more decision-theoretic dataset for investigating its basic proposition as well as more large-N methodological studies.
Tadeusz Kugler and Jacek Kugler
Political demography is a disciplinary field devoted to the study of population size, composition, and distribution in relation to both government and politics. The focus is on the political consequences of population change, especially the effects of population change on the demands made upon governments, on the performance of governments, on the distribution of political power within states, and on the distribution of national power among states. Political demography is concerned not only with the facts and figures of population—that is, fertility, mortality, and migration rates—but also with the knowledge and attitudes that people and their governments have toward population issues. Unfortunately, these issues have not generated adequate interest among both demographers and political scientists, not to mention economists and researchers in general. This is because political demography lies uncomfortably at the boundary between demography and political science. Political demography deserves serious and thoughtful scholarly attention because many, if not most, of the central policy concerns can be approached directly from the population perspective, including the key dimensions of population dynamics such as politics of size, fertility rates, life expectancy and the outcomes of success, race, war, migration and migration impact on the size and structure of populations, and population density. These core population characteristics can be related to many other attributes ranging from urbanization and mortality to gender, religion, education, productivity, health, and conflict. These characteristics are, in turn, essential for the analysis of themes like elections, social security, economic convergence, political development, and environmental degradation.
Debora Halbert and Ashley Lukens
Intellectual property rights (IPRs) encompass several different legal regimes—such as patents, copyrights, trademarks, and “sui generis” protections—developed to protect intangible assets associated with ideas, expressions, and inventions, which are included under the broad umbrella term of “intellectual property” (IP). However, the evolution of these legal regimes has always been fraught with tension. Those desiring access to knowledge without restrictive property barriers resisted the expansion of IPRs, which means that the history of IP is entangled in development efforts. As member countries of the United Nations sought to fully extend IP protection around the globe, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) was created, central to which was the debate over the scope of international IP and demands by the less developed countries for less restrictive IPRs. However, it is the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Agreement (TRIPS) that has become the most powerful arbiter of IP rights. Meanwhile, the main debates and the specific political battles surrounding IPRs include, but are not limited to, biotechnology, biopiracy, copyright piracy, file sharing, traditional knowledge, access to knowledge, and access to medicine. Ultimately, the literature on international IP has evolved considerably, becoming increasingly relevant to more than legal scholars and business professionals. Nevertheless, additional research is needed in theorizing about the core concepts of IP; the complex role between nationalism, the state, culture, and IPRs; and the search for alternatives to IP.
The political economy of violent conflict is a body of literature that investigates how economic issues and interests shape the dynamics associated to violent conflict after the Cold War. The literature covers an area of research focusing on civil wars—the predominant type of conflict in the 1990s and early 2000s—and an area of research focusing on other types of violent conflict within states, such as permanent emergencies, criminal violence, and political violence associated to turbulent transitions. The first area involves four themes that have come to characterize discussions on the political economy of civil wars, including research on the role of greed and grievance in conflict onset, on economic interests in civil wars, on the nature of conflict economies, and on conflict financing. The second area responds to the evolution of violent conflict beyond the categories of “interstate” or “civil” war and shows how political economy research adapted to new types of violent conflict within states as it moved beyond the “post-Cold War” era. Overall, the literature on the political economy of violence conflict emphasizes the role of informal systems behind power, profits and violence, and the economic interests and functions of violence underlying to violent conflict. It has also become a conceptual laboratory for scholars who after years of field research tried to make sense of the realities of authoritarian, violent or war-affected countries. By extending the boundaries of the literature beyond the study of civil wars after the Cold War, political economy research can serve as an important analytical lens to better understand the constantly evolving nature of violent conflict and to inform sober judgment on the possible policy responses to them.
Theoretical debates for a better definition of nationalism have played a key role in understanding the core issues of history, sociology, and political sciences. Classical modernist theories of nationalism mainly synthesized former sociological and historical approaches with a political science perspective. Within the classical modernist perspective, the necessity and importance of transformation from traditional culture and society to a horizontal one in the agenda of modernization was characterized as a universal consequence of industrialization. Some of the foremost complexities and problems involved in the classical and contemporary studies of nation and nationalism include the logic of dualization; the definition of nationalism with reference to its substantive and paradigmatic nature; and whether it is possible to concretely construct a universal theory of nationalism. Both classical and contemporary theories of nations and nationalism can be postulated with reference to two major theoretical sides. Universalist theories of nations and nationalism focus on the categorical structure of nationalism in conceptual grounds while being associated with (neo)positivistic methodological points of departure. On the other hand, particularist theories of nationalism underline the immanent characteristics of nations and nationalism by going through nominalism and relativism in methodological grounds. Considering the conceptual, epistemological, and theoretical contributions of “postclassical approach to nationalism” in the 1990s, three major contributions in contemporary nationalism studies can be marked: the increasing research on gender, sexuality, and feminist social theory; the framework of “new social theory” or “critical social theory”; and the discussions derived from political philosophy and normative political theory.
Jerel Rosati and Colleen E. Miller
Cognitive psychology highlights the constraints that prevent individuals from acting as utility-maximizing, fully rational decision-makers. These constraints lead people to rely on a regularly occurring set of cognitive mechanisms to simplify the decision-making process. Scholars of foreign policy have drawn from several prominent areas of cognitive psychology to inform their research. One such area looks at the beliefs and belief systems that are the building blocks for most judgments. Researchers have also examined how actors use cognitive biases and heuristics to cope with uncertainty, which is abundant in foreign policy settings. An important set of cognitive mechanisms examined in foreign policy analysis (FPA) relates to judgments about policy risks and costs. In order to make inferences and predictions about behavior concerning voting decision, certain key public influences must be considered. These influences include the role of emotions, political socialization, political sophistication, tolerance of diversity of political views, and the media. The effect of these influences on voting behavior is best understood through theories on the formation of attitudes, beliefs, schema, knowledge structures, and the practice of information processing. The degree to which voting decision is affected by internal processing systems of political information alters the quality of making truly democratic decisions.
James F. Hollifield
Migration is linked to various dimensions of politics: the procedural or distributional dimension (who gets what, when, and how), the legal or statist dimension (which involves issues of sovereignty and legitimacy), and the ethical or normative dimension (which deals with questions of citizenship, civil society, justice, and participation). The key concept surrounding migration and politics is one of interest. According to Gary Freeman, the demand for immigration policy is heavily dependent on the play of organized interests. An alternative to Freeman’s explanation is the historical-institutional approach, also known as the “liberal state” thesis, which contends that, irrespective of economic cycles, the play of interests, and shifts in public opinion, immigrants and foreigners have acquired rights. Therefore, the capacity of liberal states to control immigration is constrained by laws and institutions. The extension of rights to non-nationals has been an extremely important part of the story of international migration in the post-World War II period. In an age of increasing globalization, the pace of migration accelerated and created the so-called liberal paradox, perfectly illustrated by the difficulty of using guest workers for managing labor markets in Western Europe. International migration is likely to intensify in coming decades. There are several challenges that immigration scholars need to address, such as devising a framework that will allow us to understand the relationship between the politics of immigration control and the politics of integration.
Thomas Bernauer and Anna Kalbhenn
Freshwater is one of the most valuable natural resources on Earth. However, many of the more easily accessible freshwater resources at local and regional levels have suffered from overexploitation due to increasing population density, economic activity, and unsustainable water management practices. Sustainable management of domestic water resources is a challenging task mainly due to water allocation, pollution, and other problems on international rivers. Social science research has contributed in a variety of ways to identifying sources of international conflict and cooperation, water management options, and institutional solutions for achieving sustainable international water management. The scholarly literature has tackled a wide range of crucial questions arising from the politics of international freshwater resources, such as: whether there is sufficient evidence for the “water wars” claim—that is, whether water-related factors influence the probability of armed conflict; the determinants of international river basin cooperation, in terms of policy output and policy outcome or impact; how we can determine whether international water management efforts are successful in terms of solving problems that motivate cooperation; and the extent to which the literature offer insights into institutional design options that are effective in terms of problem solving. These studies have produced a considerable amount of policy-relevant analytical concepts and empirical findings. For example, fairness (equity) is one of the key concerns of all governments when they engage in international water cooperation, and integrated water resources management may look nice on paper but does usually not produce the desired results.
Jack A. Goldstone
Population movements can affect security in a variety of ways. Aside from altering a society’s overall balance of population and physical resources, they exert a considerable influence on the institutions of society—the state, elite recruitment and social status, the military, labor organizations and peasant villages—in a way that undermines political and social order. The consequences of population movements for security can also be seen in differential population growth and migration, differential aging of different populations, and issues of resource allocation and climate change. The work of T. R. Malthus in the early nineteenth century advanced the argument that more people would put an undesirable burden on societies, and weaken them. Julian Simon turned the Malthusian argument on its head with his claim that people were the “ultimate resource,” and that the more people were around to work on solving the globe’s problems, the more likely it was that powerful solutions would be found. The debate between Malthusians, represented by Paul Ehrlich, and Cornucopians, represented by Simon, from the 1960s to the 1990s was primarily about the impact of population on economic growth. In the 1990s, a new direction emerged in the debate on population and security. This was the argument that population growth would lead to local shortages of critical resources such as farmland, water, and timber, and that these could trigger internal conflicts and even civil wars. These conflicts arise only where states and economies are relatively weak and unable to respond to population growth.
Some of the main genealogies within postcolonial scholarship are discussed, with a focus on key thinkers, such as Edward Said, Homi Bhabha, Gayatri Spivak, Aníbal Quijano, and Walter Mignolo. Key concepts, such as colonial discourse theory, development, and subaltern studies are presented. The discussion of postcolonial thought is embedded in a reflection on its relation to other theoretical paradigms and social theories (e.g., poststructuralism, world-system theory, Marxism). This focus seeks to highlight some of the main contours of the field, while also pointing out the ways postcolonialism has shaped the discipline of international relations (IR).
Peter J. Dixon, Luke Moffett, and Adriana Rudling
The devastation brought by war leaves behind irreparable loss and destruction. Yet over the past 100 years there has been a concerted effort by states, both within their territory and following conflicts with other states, to resolve the past through reparations. As a legal and political tool, reparations can affirm values in a postconflict society through recognising suffering and responsibility, as well as helping those most affected by the conflict to cope with their loss. However, the scale of harm and damage of war may devastate a state’s capacity to redress all victims, and states may have more pressing priorities to reconstruct and encourage development. While the guns have been silenced, the motivations and ideologies that fueled and justified violence may continue, politicising debates over which victims are deserving of reparation or absolving the responsibility of certain actors, causing reparations to be delayed or dropped. Where reparations are made, furthermore, assessments of their effectiveness in meeting their goals are both challenging and necessary. This article addresses these issues, providing a snapshot of the key debates in the area, the continuing gaps, and the need for further research.
Sally J. Matthews
Postdevelopment theory is a compelling and controversial field of thought in contemporary development studies. It gained prominence during the 1990s, when it sparked fierce debate, but its influence has since waned somewhat. This chapter summarizes the contribution of postdevelopment theory to development studies and, more generally, to international studies. Postdevelopment theory’s key contribution was a stringent and multifaceted critique of the idea of development. The critique offered by postdevelopment thinkers went beyond other critical engagements with development theory, in that it sought to reject, rather than reform, development. The critique was strongly informed by concerns about Westernization and by an associated desire to validate, protect, and revive non-Western ways of life. Furthermore, postdevelopment theorists adopt a critical stance toward globalization, seeking to defend the local against the global. After reviewing postdevelopment theory’s radical critique of development, the article provides an overview of critical engagements with postdevelopment theory. Critics have been particularly concerned about postdevelopment theorists’ reluctance or inability to move beyond critique in order to clearly outline possible alternatives to development. While this critique is well founded, the article does describe the ways in which some of the recent work by postdevelopment writers has begun to take on a more constructive character. The chapter concludes that post-development theory is relevant not only to those interested in development theory, but also to all those interested in thinking of alternatives to the capitalist, industrialized way of life that has for so long been held up as an ideal toward which all should strive.
Yale H. Ferguson and Richard W. Mansbach
Postinternational theory in international relations (IR) theory offers an alternative to the state-centric perspectives on the world that have dominated IR theory. A state-centric approach is far too restrictive. Despite the resurgence of populist nationalism, contemporary scholars are much more aware than in the past of the enormous variety of states, the important distinction between state and nation, the fact that states, even at the policy-making level, are not unitary actors, and the recurring possibility that violence will be intrastate or trans-state rather than interstate. It is apparent, too, that the stage of global politics is crowded by countless actors of different types, whose complex interactions substantially determine the intermediate and longer-range scenes in particular dramas. Moreover, the flow of events significantly reflects not only such ideational factors as competing identities, ideologies, and mental spaces, but also the pace and volume of globalization in its multiple dimensions and related localization dynamics that include resistance to globalization. Postinternational theory embodies the foregoing worldview. It shares some areas of agreement with leading schools of IR theory, but provides a much better foundation for future theory building as well as a policy-relevant way of thinking about the world and analyzing global political issues.
Poststructural Research in International Political Economy: Problematizing and Politicizing Agency, Structure, and Objectivity
Poststructural research in International Political Economy (IPE) is a relatively young and growing field of studies that includes a variety of very diverse theories and approaches. These approaches to IPE emphasize the contingency of structures and meanings, and the struggles within the processes in which structures and objectivities are constructed. Poststructuralists argue that the subject is an inherent part of the structure. However, the fact that the structure itself is dislocated means that it is unable to completely determine the subject. From a poststructuralist perspective, it is not the absent structural identity, but the failed structural identity that renders the subject possible. Far from being relativist, the concept of contingency points to a structured uncertainty, that is, chance backed by force. Poststructural approaches aim at deconstructing ahistorical truth claims by exploring the processes of meaning-making and the various struggles for objectivity. Accordingly, they characterize the relation between state, economy, and society as a product of sedimentations arising from a series of social and political struggles. Relying on postpositivist methodology, poststructural approaches proceed on the assumption that meaning, truth, and facts are socially and politically constructed. For this reason, poststructural research has a special interest in studying the conflictual processes in which some meanings and truth claims prevail while others are rejected.
Poststructural/postmodern IR is a mode of critical thinking and analysis that joined disciplinary conversations during the 1980s and, despite the dismissive reception it has initially faced, it is a vibrant and expanding area of research within the field today. Providing a radical critique of politics in modernity, it is less a new paradigm or theory. Instead, it is better described as “a critical attitude” that focuses on the question of representation and explores the ways in which dominant framings of world politics produce and reproduce relations of power: how they legitimate certain forms of action while marginalizing other ways of being, thinking, and acting. To elaborate the insights of poststructuralism/postmodernism, the article starts off by situating the emergence of these critical perspectives within the disciplinary context and visits the debates and controversies it has elicited. This discussion is followed by an elaboration of the major themes and concepts of poststructural/postmodern thought such as subjectivity, language, text, and power. The convergences and divergences between poststructuralism and its precursor—structuralism—is an underlying theme that is noted in this article. The third and fourth sections make central the epistemological and ontological challenges that poststructuralism/postmodernism poses to disciplinary knowledge production on world politics. While the former focuses on how central categories of IR such as state and sovereignty, violence, and war were problematized and reconceptualized, the latter attends to the poststructuralist/postmodern attempts to articulate a different political imaginary and develop an alternative conceptual language to think the international beyond the confines of the paradigm of sovereignty and the modern subject. The article concludes with a brief look at the future directions for poststructural/postmodern investigations.
Poststructuralism is an International Relations (IR) theory that entered the domain of Security Studies during the Second Cold War. During this period, poststructuralists engaged with power, security, the militarization of the superpower relationship, and the dangers that the nuclear condition was believed to entail. Poststructuralism’s concern with power, structures, and the disciplining effects of knowledge seemed to resonate well with the main themes of classical realist Security Studies. At the same time, the discursive ontology and epistemology of poststructuralism set it apart not only from Strategic Studies, but from traditional peace researchers who insisted on “real world” material referents and objective conceptions of security. The unexpected end of the Cold War brought challenges as well as opportunities for poststructuralism. The most important challenge that arose was whether states needed enemies. The terrorist attacks of September 11 and “The War on Terror” also had a profound impact on poststructuralist discourse. First, poststructuralists held that “terrorism” and “terrorists” had no objective, material referent, but were signs that constituted a radical Other. They viewed the actions on September 11 as “terror,” “acts of war,” and “orchestrated,” rather than “accidents” committed by a few individuals. The construction of “terrorists” as “irrational” intersected with poststructuralist deconstructions of rational–irrational dichotomies that had also been central to Cold War discourse. These responses to “the War on Terror” demonstrated that poststructuralist theory still informs important work in Security Studies and that there are also crucial intersections between poststructuralism and other approaches in IR.
Ethical considerations in International Relations (IR) usually follow from the sovereignty and anarchy distinction. The ethical implications arising from these classic twin IR banners shift the focus toward relations of inside and outside, while morality remains restricted to the national level, where reciprocal moral obligation is legally secured through citizenship, while the international continues to be branded by a constant struggle for power and the elusiveness of any moral rules. In contrast, the poststructuralist notion of difference engenders a democratic ethos of immanent critique, which regards itself as a necessary corrective in contexts where liberal discourses are prevalent, but exposes a tendency of discounting the inherently political nature of the social. A poststructuralist ethics accentuates the radical political institution of society, the aporia of justice, and the contingency of a particular morality.
W. Travis Selmier
War, trade, and money synergistically developed over three millennia, each proving important to the emergence of nation-states. By the 19th century, fiduciary money—forms of money based on trust, such as paper money—catalyzed the development of national monetary and banking systems. As nexus of international finance and metropole of the world’s largest empire, the United Kingdom garnered political and economic power. But over the course of two world wars, power shifted to the United States. Small successes and great failures of the interwar period influenced creation of Bretton Woods institutions, completing a transformation from an international monetary system into an international financial system [IFS], which included not only monetary flows but also a formal, institutionalized system of governance. The dollar’s flows became the IFS’ lifeblood, engendering structural power for the United States, which has been held in place through reserve currency status, institutional stickiness through banking and currency trading, and ideational influence. Introduction of the Euro and attempts in Asia to dismantle the “Asian Bloc” have shaken, but not removed, American structural power. Money’s foundations have always rested on trust, trading, and risk taking; emergence of extensive credit and virtual money, and related security concerns, bring forth new topics resting on these old foundations.
Philip E. Steinberg and Darren Purcell
Electronic communications refer to forms of communication where ideas and information are embedded in spatially mobile electronic signals. These include the internet, telephony, television, and radio. Electronic communications are linked to state power in a complex and, at times, contradictory manner. More specifically, a tension exists between divergent pressures toward constructing electronic communication spaces as spaces of state power, as spaces of escape, and as spaces for contesting state power. On the one hand, states often invest in infrastructure and empower regulatory institutions as they seek to intensify their presence within national territory, for example, or project their influence beyond territorial borders. The widespread use of electronic communication technologies to facilitate governmental power is especially evident in the realm of cyberwarfare. E-government platforms have also been created to foster interaction with the state through electronic means. On the other hand, communication systems thrive through the idealization (and, ideally, the regulatory construction) of a space without borders, whereby individuals might bypass, or even actively work to subvert, state authority. Just as the internet has been seen as a means for state power to monitor the everyday lives and subjectivities of the citizenry, it has also been employed as a tool for democratization. Various institutions have emerged to govern specific electronic communication networks, including those that are focused on reproducing the power of individual states, those that operate in the realm of intergovernmental organizations, those that devolve power to actors in local government, and those that empower corporations or civil society.
The “practice turn” in international relations (IR) refers to those scholars that explicitly take practices as a category of analysis in one way or another. This notion implies three things: that a significant number of scholars turn to practices, that they have enough similarities to be considered part of the same broad movement, and that they bring something novel to the discipline. Taken together, the concepts and logics developed in association with this shift in emphasis to practices form what has come to be labelled as “practice theory” (PT). The basic concepts and logics that provide the conceptual and theoretical foundation for PT’s use in IR include practices as shared, patterned, and embodied; the logic of habits/habitus; and field, capital, and symbolic domination. The epistemological foundation of PT is an interpretive and reflexive approach that builds on a pragmatic epistemology that considers knowledge as socially constructed. PT challenges rationalism and constructivism, but without denying that individuals make rational calculations, or that social norms constrain their behaviour. Practice theorists use different metaphors in locating PT within IR, such as the “gluon” or the “trading zone.” Another approach is to treat practices as an analytical tool. In addition, there are three different methods for studying practices: participant observation, interviews, and discourse analysis.