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What are the core realist assumptions?

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What are the core realist assumptions?

- Statism

- Survival (offensive vs. defensive realism)

- Self-help

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How do realists view the state?

insecure, selfish, power- or security-seeking

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What is the balance of power?

States act to prevent one state from dominating

--> unipolar more stable than multipolar

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What distribution matters to realists?

The distribution of power (states are the same, their amount of power is not)

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Via what ways do states try to balance power according to realists?

- Internal balancing (independent)

- external balancing (allies)

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According to realists, what do states do when they are unsuccessful in balancing power?

Bandwagoning = align with strong state so it doesn't turn against them

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What is the security dilemma?

One state attempts to increase its own security by increasing power -> other states become insecure -> seek to develop and maximize own security -> first state feels threatened (mainly because it can't distinguish between offensive and defensive policies) -> furhter develops power -> spirals into arms race, possible conflict

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Who defined the essence of realism?

Thucycides (Peloponnesian war, Melian Dialogue)

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What is the "Melian dialogue" and why is it important to realists? From who?

Thucycides - Realism

- Defines essence of realism, shows importance of power

- Melians: Justice, neutrality, honour, alliance

- Athenians: self-help, power, survival

"The strong do what they wish and the weak suffer what they must"

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What is the "Thucydides trap"? From who?

Allison 2017

- Growth in power of Athens led to fear in Sparta, spiraled into Peloponnesian war)

- Idea: Power transition leads to war

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What core tenent of realism did Machiavelli define?


- States mainly concerned with its own security

- Only ONE national interest

"The state has no higher duty than that of maintaining itself"

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Who is the statement "The state has no higher duty than that of maintaining itself" from?

- Machiavelli (core tenent: survival)

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What core tenent of realism did Hobbes define?

Core tenent of self-help

-States operate in an insecure state of nature --> constant struggle for power

- State of anarchy (absence of hierarchy and authority) shapes individual behaviour (fear, egoism, suspicion, insecurity....)

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What kind of realist is Morgenthau?

Classical realist (end of WW2, beginning of CW)

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When was classical realism?

End of WW2, beginning of CW

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What are Morgenthau's core beliefs?

- Human nature hard wired to pursue power

- State interests congruent with the power it posesses (states act rationally)

- Balance of power & shouldnt be changed to prevent conflict

- emphasis on formal alliances

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Who wrote the famous book "Theory of International Politics?" When?

Waltz, 1979

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What was the main base for neorealist theory?

Waltz's book "Theory in International Politics" in 1979

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What are Waltz's core assumptions?

- Structure of the international system shapes state behaviour (so no focus on human nature as a cause for certain actions)

1. All units of the system behave similarly

2. Distribution of power/ capacities (polarity)

3. Relative power/ relative gains

4. Mainly security competition

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Is Waltz a defensive or an offensive realist?

Defensive (security-maximizing)

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Is Mearsheimer a defensive or an offensive realist?

Offensive (power-maximizing)

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What are Mearsheimer's core assumptions? When?

Post CW

- States maximize power: Ideal position to be a hegemon

- States can never be sure of the intentions of others

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What are the liberalist core assumptions?

- Domestic insitutions (promote rights of the individual, liberty, consent of the governed, political equality)

- Interdependence (reduces likelihood for war)

- IOs & rules based on the right of sovereignity

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How do liberals view the state?

- depends on political institutions/ regime (autocratic vs. democratic states)


=> democracies do not go to war with democracies

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How do liberals view the international system?

- Anarchy (same as realists) BUT progress possible towards liberal world oder

- Distribution of preferences (as states get to know each other through international cooperation)

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What distribution matters to liberalists?

Distribution of preferences

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Who came up with the Democratic Peace Theory?

Key concept by Immanuel Kant, later on Woodrow Wilson

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What core element of the international system did Grotius come up with?

- International law

- States part of a larger society

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What core element of the international system did Adam Smith come up with?

- International economics

- Core idea: Free trade benefits everyone

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What elements are part of the Kantian Triangle? WHat theory?

Basis of liberalism

- Democracy (not all units in WP act similar, democracies are more peaceful than dictatorships)

- Economic interdependence (better knowledge of needs & preferences, liberal states tend to be wealthier --> more too lose/ less to gain)

- International institutions (promote peace and cooperation, solving disputes etc.)

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Who is the main theorist of idealism?

Woodrow Wilson, advocated for the creation of the League of Nations

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What are the idealist core assumptions?

- Peace not automatic but outcome of conscious efforts -> IO

- "Harmony of interests"

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What kind of liberalist is Kohane?


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With what realist assumptions do liberalists agree with?

- State as main actor, rationality, self-interest (BUT cooperation possible)

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What are Kohane's core beliefs? When?

Post WW2

- Context of neorealist challenge

- Institutions mitigate concerns & reduce transaction costs

- Mutual & absolute gains (vs. relative)

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Who is the main founder of liberal internationalism?


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Who suggested the "End of History" and why?

Fukuyama, liberal international order, democracy, peace (no ideological alternative to liberalism emerged)

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What are the core assumptions of social constructivism?

- IR are socially constructed --> meanings shape actions in world politics, those meanings are constructed through social interaction

- Ideas matter --> looking at ideas to understand WP (materialist structures do not tell us much)

- Power stands from ideas, norms, culture & language

- Co-constitution

- The world is what you believe it is --> power of perception, rules are not static

- Agents do not exist isolated from the structure they create

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What is "holism"?

Context: Social Constructivism

- States/ civil society/ individuals have the capacity to strategically change social structure/ reality

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How do constructivists view both the state and the international system?

Artifact, socially constructed

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What are the two sub-schools of constructivism?

- Explanatory constructivists: what factor causes which aspect of a state's identity to change

- Critical constructivists: criticizing common theories, e.g. liberalism/ realism

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What is the "Norm life cycle model" and from who?

Sikkin & Finnemore (1998)

norm emergence (norm entrepreneurs)

norm cascade (spread through the population by conformity, legitimation etc.)

norm internationalization (not a matter of debate anymore, embedded in domestic law/ institutions --> e.g. humanitarian aid)

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What is the concept of Securitization?

Context: Social constructivism

--> naming a threat as a priority justifies a suspension of the normal rules of politics, allowing elites to take extraordinary measures (e.g. wars, torture)

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From who is the statement "Anarchy is what states make of it" and what does it mean?

Wendt (social constructivism)

Anarchy is not structural but the outcome of pratice, ideas (we believe in anarchy? alright, then it's actually an anarchy..)

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Who defined the concept of "soft power"?

Context: Social Constructivism


- soft power = co-opt rather than coerce

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Who came up with the concept of the "Nuclear taboo"?

Tannenwald, "Nuclear Taboo" (social constructivism)

- Normative prohibition of using nuclear weapons for deterrence

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What are the marxist core assumptions?

- Historical materialism (all institutions of human society are the outgroth of its economic activity, therefore shaped by elites)

- Social classes (states not primary unit of analysis => instead, classes) .. because states only exectuing agent of capitalist elites

- International Capitalist System (by-product of imperalism & expansion of economic system beyond Europe)

- Opportunities for some states, constraints for others

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Who came up with the "idea" of the "Scramble of Africa"? What are its main ideas?


- Find new land, obtain raw materialsm, exploit the cheap slave labour, dumping

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According to Hobson, what are the causes of imperial expansion?


Western states felt the need to expand capitalism to non-capitalist states due to...

a) overproduction

b) underconsumption

c) oversavings

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According to what theorist are overproduction, underconsumption and overasavings the causes for Imperalism?


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According to Lenin, what led to colonial expansion?

Processes of capitalist accumulation led to colonial expansion

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What theorist defined the "World Systems theory"? What does it entail?


- Core nations, semiperiphery nations, periphery nations

=> IR takes place within a world capitalist system where the core, periphery and semi-periphery are linked together in an exploitative relationship in which wealth is drained away from the periphery to the core

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What is the difference between classic Marxism and Gramscianism?

- Builds on Marxian tradition but with greater emphasis on subjectivity, culture, and ideology (constructivism?)

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Who came up with the "Concept of Hegemony"? What does it entail?


- power mixture of coercion and consent in developed countries system also maintained with consent

--> Consent created by the Hegemony of the ruling class

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Who said "Theory is always for someone, and for some purpose"? What does it mean?


- Knowledge of social world can't be objective (e.g. realism serving those prospering under the prevailing order)

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What are the main critical approaches to classic IR theories?

- Feminism

- Post-structuralism

- Postcolonialism

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What common diagnostic do IR critical approaches have?

No universal truth, no universal theory

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What common objectives do IR critical approaches have?

Criticism of the produciton and understanding of IR constitutive theory (vs. explanatory theory)

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Are the IR critical approaches constitutive theories or explanatory theories?

Constitutive theories (critize rather than propose completely new concept => explanatory theory)

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According to Cohn, why do states want to acquire Nuclear Weapons?

Context: IR theory of feminism

- Competitive male sexuality

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According to who do states want to acquire nuclear weapons due to competitive male sexuality?


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What is the "gender tax" from the theory of Feminism?

women have to pay "gender tax to be succesful", e.g. more effort

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Why is 1648 a benchmark?

- Outcome of 30 years of war => Westphalian state system (not medieval or feudal system)

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Why is the Westphalian system as a benchmark for sovereignity criticized?

- Longer, 400 year process

- Sovereign state not the only unit of IR analysis/ theory

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Who made the statement "War made the states and the state made war"? What is it supposed to say?


Threat of war, rulers forced to defend borders

Larger, more centralized states: increased tax collection & military recruitment

Expand representative rule & bureaucracy

=> Strong states survive, weak states perish

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Where was the first IR chair? When?

After WW1: 1919, Aberstwyth

(structured realism - liberalism debate)

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What is polarity in IR?

Description of the international system

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What does Huntington say about Clash of Civilizations?

The Clash of Civilizations is a thesis that people's cultural and religious identities would be the primary source of conflict in the post-Cold War world

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What is a diversionary foreign policy?

A diversionary foreign policy, or a diversionary war, is an international relations term that identifies a war instigated by a country's leader in order to distract its population from their own domestic strife

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What is an example for a diversionary war?

Falkland war

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What is the difference between logic of approriateness and the logic of consequences?

Action follows a logic of consequences when it is driven by subjective assessments of outcomes of alternative courses of action. Action follows a logic of appropriateness when it is shaped by rules relevant to the current situation

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Who invented the inside-outside-dualism?


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How can globalisation be defined?

Increasing interconnectedness, actions in one part of the world affects another one

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According to what theory does globalization not change the central power of states?


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According to what theory is globalization an external force that can be shaped by humans?

Social constructivism

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What are postructuralism's core assumptions?

- All truth claims (about some feature of the world) can be judged true or false

- concerned with distrusting and exposing any account of human life that claims to have direct access to the "truth"

- Use meta-theoretical questions as a tool to doubt knowledge

- Globalization does not exist out here in the world, it is just a product of power

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What do the different IR theories think about globalization/ what aspect do they focus on?

Constructivism: External force acting on states that can be shaped by humans

Marxism: Last stage of international capitalism

Realism: Globalization does not change the central power of states (although increasingly interconnectedness)

Liberal institutionalism: End-product of long-running positive transformation of world politics towards interconnectedness between societies, diminishing state power

Postcolonial/decolonial approaches: Glob. increases the vast inequality on a global scale

Feminism: Studies how globalization affects gendered forms of power

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What are the core assumptions of Liberal Internationalism?

- Human beings and societies can be improved

- Representative democracy plays a huge role in societies improvement

- Rejects that war is the natural condition of WP

- Takes into consideration individuals, multinational cooperations, transnational actors, international organizations as central actors of world politics (so not just states)

- Sees the state as a structure made up of individuals and their collective interests

- Intedependence = important feature of WP, preferably when leads to cooperation

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What are the core assumptions of post-colonial and decolonial approaches?

- Questions whether eurocentric theries can really purport to explain world politics as a whole

- Believes that major IR theories help to continue to jsutify the military and economic subordination of the Global South by powerful Western interests

- WP is explained by global hierarchies of subordination and control, past and present, that are made possible through the historical construction and combination of racial, gendered and class differences, hierarchies

- Globalization increases vast inequality on a global scale

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What are the core assumptions of Feminism?

- Focus on the construction of differences between "women" and "men" in the context of hierarchy and power and the highly contingent understandings of masculinity and femininity that these power relations produce

- Analyses how gender both affects world politics and is an effect of world politics

- Studies how globalization affects gendered forms of power

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Why was the emergence of the Westphalian system an important step towards sovereignity?

- Break with the medieval/feudal system

- Established the principle of "sovereign territoriality" (European states could no longer intervene in otger states on the basis of religious belief - "cuius regio, eius religio")

- Considered the basis for the modern international order

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Why is the emergence of the Westphalian system sometimes seen as the "Westphalian Myth?"

- Similar changes in China (warring states)

- Establishment of multiple other regional international orders

- Other types of political units, and inter-unit organizations

- Settled limits to the principle of sovereignity established at the 1555 Peace of Augsburg, for example by retracting the rights of polities to choose their own religion


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Why are the WW' important in IR theory?

Led to the emergence of the discipline of IR => to prevent future wars

- Strucured realism/liberalism debate

- Word wars completely changed, not only the nature of wars, but also the state system

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What openend the door for both the US and SU to rise as a global power?

- WW2

- Decolonisation

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According to lots of scholars, what country has replaced the SU in a "bipolar world" with the US?


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Why did many scholars becleive that we could be looking at a peaceful and prosperous new era after the CW?

- World shifted from bipolarity to unipolarity (US)

US as sole superpower, due to:

- Multidimensional power of the state

- Domination (with the rest of the West) of institutions and multilateral organizations (UN, GATT, WBG, IMF)

- Solid set of transatlantic/transpacific relations and alliance system

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Why was 9/11 seen as extremely impactful on the US (and the rest of the world)?

- 9/11 terrorist attacks presented the darker side of globalization

- Creation (mainly by the US) of security policies for the following 21(!) years

- Undermined the Western claim to moral superiority, by the violations of human rights that werde being committed in the Guantanamo prison and the unjustified attacks in Iraq

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Why did the US's hegemony perish slowly after CW?

- Increasing global influence of rising powers ("the rise of the rest") - such as China, Russia, India, Brazil, South Africa, Japan

=> enhanced by BRICS, Belt and Road Initiative, their new Development Bank

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Why did more anti-globalization opinions emerge due to Covid-19?

Vaccination inevitably created more battle lines and barriers between states (e.g. competition over who gets vaccines)

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What are Pinkers arguments for the world becoming more peaceful?

- Decline in violence over fatalilities

- "Better angels" (sovereign states, education/literacy, democracy, instiutions...)

NO (arguments against Pinker)

- Data problems (battlefield deaths)

- Developing vs. developed world

- Total number of conflicts increased (but low-intensity)

- New or old wars?

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What are limitations of realism?

- Some conflicts are about ideology (Iraq wasn't a threat to the US and they still declared war against them)

- Some states approproate foreign policy

- Non-state actors are becoming major actors in WP

- The state itself can not respond to collective global problems such as poverty, environment degradation and human rights abuses (criticism to statism)

- There should be limits to what a state can do in the name of necessity/survival

- States sometimes prefer collective security systems then just to rely on themselves

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When did the different "liberalisms" came into existence?

- Classical liberalism: Interwar period (peace not autonomatic but outcome of conscious efforts => WW)

- Liberal institutionalism/ Neoliberalism: Post WW2 (agrees with some neorealist assumptions but progress possible)

- Liberal internationalism: Post CW period (global institutions new rulers of the world)

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What is the democratic pece theory?

- Democracies do not go to war with each other

- When democracies go to war they usually have the resources to succeed in it

- Promoting peace by security institutions (NATO, US support)

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What is liberal interventionism?

States intervene in other state's political system to spread democratic and liberal values, e.g. Iraq war 2003

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What are limitations of the theory of liberalism?

- Sovereign equality is under threat by the sole superpower status of the US

- Has produced unequal gains for the West and the East

- Was used by President George W. Bush as justification for the "war of terror" that ended up as violating a lot of human rights

- Embrace imperialisk

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Why/when did Constructivism become so popular among IR theorists?

End of CW --> other theories could not explain drastic changes

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What is the difference between normative and explanatory theory?

Normative - HOW things SHOULD (/HAVE) BE DONE

Explanatory - WHY things are/were done A CERTAIN WAY

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Western states felt the need to expand capitalism to non-capitalist states due to...

a) overproduction

b) underconsumption

c) oversavings

WHO said this?

Hobson, in the context of Marxism

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What are criticisms about marxism?

- Economic determinism (is the political sphere always shaped by economic forces?)

- Ignores factors such as politics, ideology, nationalism and military power

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Is poststructuralism constitutive or explanatory?

Constitutive (doesn't believe in causal effects and respond to "how?" questions)

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