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  • Author: Kristin Vandenbelt
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Uluslararasi Iliskiler
  • Institution: International Relations Council of Turkey (UİK-IRCT)
  • Abstract: The field of migration studies has long suffered from a weak theoretical base upon which to ground its work. This article proposes a new theoretical approach – network analysis of international migration systems – to serve as a unifying theory for the study of migration. This new approach seeks to combine the best elements of the compatible approaches of network theory and the migration systems. This will also allow scholars to engage in theoretically informed concept formation and variable identification, allowing for an interdisciplinary cumulation of knowledge, thereby allowing scholars to predict future migration flows and assist in making meaningful migration policy.
  • Topic: Migration, International Relations Theory
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: John J. Mearsheimer
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The liberal international order, erected after the Cold War, was crumbling by 2019. It was flawed from the start and thus destined to fail. The spread of liberal democracy around the globe—essential for building that order—faced strong resistance because of nationalism, which emphasizes self-determination. Some targeted states also resisted U.S. efforts to promote liberal democracy for security-related reasons. Additionally, problems arose because a liberal order calls for states to delegate substantial decisionmaking authority to international institutions and to allow refugees and immigrants to move easily across borders. Modern nation-states privilege sovereignty and national identity, however, which guarantees trouble when institutions become powerful and borders porous. Furthermore, the hyperglobalization that is integral to the liberal order creates economic problems among the lower and middle classes within the liberal democracies, fueling a backlash against that order. Finally, the liberal order accelerated China's rise, which helped transform the system from unipolar to multipolar. A liberal international order is possible only in unipolarity. The new multipolar world will feature three realist orders: a thin international order that facilitates cooperation, and two bounded orders—one dominated by China, the other by the United States—poised for waging security competition between them.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Relations Theory, Liberal Order
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe
  • Author: Charles L. Glaser
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Well before President Donald Trump began rhetorically attacking U.S. allies and the open international trading system, policy analysts worried about challenges to the liberal international order (LIO). A more fundamental issue, however, has received little attention: the analytic value of framing U.S. security in terms of the LIO. Systematic examination shows that this framing creates far more confusion than insight. Even worse, the LIO framing could lead the United States to adopt overly competitive policies and unnecessarily resist change in the face of China's growing power. The “LIO concept”—the logics that proponents identify as underpinning the LIO—is focused inward, leaving it ill equipped to address interactions between members of the LIO and states that lie outside the LIO. In addition, the LIO concept suffers theoretical flaws that further undermine its explanatory value. The behavior that the LIO concept claims to explain—including cooperation under anarchy, effective Western balancing against the Soviet Union, the Cold War peace, and the lack of balancing against the United States following the Cold War—is better explained by other theories, most importantly, defensive realism. Analysis of U.S. international policy would be improved by dropping the LIO terminology entirely and reframing analysis in terms of grand strategy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Grand Strategy, International Relations Theory, Liberal Order, Trump
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Eliza Gheorghe
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The evolution of the nuclear market explains why there are only nine members of the nuclear club, not twenty-five or more, as some analysts predicted. In the absence of a supplier cartel that can regulate nuclear transfers, the more suppliers there are, the more intense their competition will be, as they vie for market share. This commercial rivalry makes it easier for nuclear technology to spread, because buyers can play suppliers off against each other. The ensuing transfers help countries either acquire nuclear weapons or become hedgers. The great powers (China, Russia, and the United States) seek to thwart proliferation by limiting transfers and putting safeguards on potentially dangerous nuclear technologies. Their success depends on two structural factors: the global distribution of power and the intensity of the security rivalry among them. Thwarters are most likely to stem proliferation when the system is unipolar and least likely when it is multipolar. In bipolarity, their prospects fall somewhere in between. In addition, the more intense the rivalry among the great powers in bipolarity and multipolarity, the less effective they will be at curbing proliferation. Given the potential for intense security rivalry among today's great powers, the shift from unipolarity to multipolarity does not portend well for checking proliferation.
  • Topic: International Relations, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear Power, Nonproliferation, International Relations Theory
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China
  • Author: Deborah Jordan Brooks, Stephen G. Brooks, Brian D. Greenhill, Mark L. Haas
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The world is experiencing a period of unprecedented demographic change. For the first time in human history, marked disparities in age structures exist across the globe. Around 40 percent of the world's population lives in countries with significant numbers of elderly citizens. In contrast, the majority of the world's people live in developing countries with very large numbers of young people as a proportion of the total population. Yet, demographically, most of the world's states with young populations are aging, and many are doing so quickly. This first-of-its kind systematic theoretical and empirical examination of how these demographic transitions influence the likelihood of interstate conflict shows that countries with a large number of young people as a proportion of the total population are the most prone to international conflict, whereas states with the oldest populations are the most peaceful. Although societal aging is likely to serve as a force for enhanced stability in most, and perhaps all, regions of the world over the long term, the road to a “demographic peace” is likely to be bumpy in many parts of the world in the short to medium term.
  • Topic: Demographics, War, International Security, Democracy, International Relations Theory
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Japan, China, Germany, Global Focus
  • Author: Dominic D.P. Johnson, Dominic Tierney
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: A major puzzle in international relations is why states privilege negative over positive information. States tend to inflate threats, exhibit loss aversion, and learn more from failures than from successes. Rationalist accounts fail to explain this phenomenon, because systematically overweighting bad over good may in fact undermine state interests. New research in psychology, however, offers an explanation. The “negativity bias” has emerged as a fundamental principle of the human mind, in which people's response to positive and negative information is asymmetric. Negative factors have greater effects than positive factors across a wide range of psychological phenomena, including cognition, motivation, emotion, information processing, decision-making, learning, and memory. Put simply, bad is stronger than good. Scholars have long pointed to the role of positive biases, such as overconfidence, in causing war, but negative biases are actually more pervasive and may represent a core explanation for patterns of conflict. Positive and negative dispositions apply in different contexts. People privilege negative information about the external environment and other actors, but positive information about themselves. The coexistence of biases can increase the potential for conflict. Decisionmakers simultaneously exaggerate the severity of threats and exhibit overconfidence about their capacity to deal with them. Overall, the negativity bias is a potent force in human judgment and decisionmaking, with important implications for international relations theory and practice.
  • Topic: Political Theory, Emotions, International Relations Theory, Psychology
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Isiaka Alani Badmus, Bert Jenkins
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: AUSTRAL: Brazilian Journal of Strategy International Relations
  • Institution: Postgraduate Program in International Strategic Studies, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul
  • Abstract: This paper reviewed some extense literature in peacekeeping. The review of the literature focused on two areas - concepts and theories of peacekeeping. After having discussed the three major approaches to think conceptually about peacekeeping in the literature, we argued that despite the existence of these multiple frameworks for addressing the conceptual problems of peacekeeping, they overlooked the imperative of the structures and processes of world politics, their impacts and how these have conditioned the roles of peacekeepers in it. Then, we examined four of the main theoretical approaches that are discernible in the peacekeeping literature, which offer possible frameworks for the analysis and interpretation of peacekeeping research. We argued that there is no single theory (or a metatheory) that fully explains the whole gamut of issues involved in peace operations. This is because these theoretical traditions provide different ways in which to comprehend peacekeeping. A single theory is highly unlikely to fully explain the complexities of contemporary peace operations, especially in a continent like Africa featuring different peacekeeping actors. Therefore, peacekeeping is best understood through the application of many theories in order to uncover the motives of peacekeeping authourising institutions, peacekeepers as well as the role(s) peacekeeping missions play and the interest they serve.
  • Topic: International Relations, Peacekeeping, Intellectual History, International Relations Theory
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Kari Konkola
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Humanitas
  • Institution: The Center for the Study of Statesmanship, Catholic University
  • Abstract: Sin used to be among Christianity’s most important concepts. This is understandable. The New Testament says God sent His only son, Christ, to liberate fallen humans from the suffering caused by Adam’s original sin. The importance of overcoming sins is emphasized by the Bible’s oft-repeated warnings about God’s sometimes ferociously punishing sinners. In spite of the central role of sin in the Bible, worry about the cardinal sins—pride, envy, anger, greed, and lechery—has largely disappeared among modern Christians.1 The reaction of most of today’s Christians can be summarized by the expression “good riddance.” The “let’s talk about something else” attitude toward sin has become the prevailing paradigm even among theologians.
  • Topic: Religion, International Relations Theory, Psychology
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States
  • Author: Natália Maria Félix de Souza
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Contexto Internacional
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro
  • Abstract: The publication of the last of three parts of Contexto Internacional’s special issue ‘Gender in the Global South’ is the opportunity to both celebrate and lament the accomplishments of feminist scholarship in the so-called global South. Reflecting from the Brazilian experience and scenario, it is remarkable how much the women, gender and sexuality agenda has grown in the field of international relations: from a marginal perspective at the turn of the century (Nogueira and Messari 2005), it has now become a major locus of resistance and contestation, which can be attested to by looking at the power plays at the Brazilian international relations association’s annual meetings, the multiplication of feminist collectives inside public and private universities, not to mention the growing number of gender-sensitive research articles published by the main national journals – including this triple special issue. From where I look, there is no doubt that feminism has come to shake the conventions of the area and produce a much more plural and interesting picture of international relations – one which encompasses more voices, stories, subjectivities and narratives. From this standpoint, there is much to celebrate and hope for.
  • Topic: International Relations, Gender Issues, Socialism/Marxism, Realism, International Relations Theory, Feminism, Liberalism
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Global Focus
  • Author: Awino Okech, Dinah Musindarwezo
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Contexto Internacional
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro
  • Abstract: This article reflects on transnational feminist organising by drawing on the experiences of the African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET) during the consultations leading up to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. First, we re-examine some of the debates that have shaped the field of women’s rights, feminist activism and gender justice in Africa, and the enduring legacies of these discourses for policy advocacy. Second, we analyse the politics of movement-building and the influence of development funding, and how they shape policy discourses and praxis in respect of women’s rights and gender justice. Third, we problematise the nature of transnational feminist solidarity. Finally, drawing on scholarship about transnational feminist praxis as well as activism, we distil some lessons for feminist policy advocacy across geo-political divides.
  • Topic: Globalization, International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation, Political Theory, Women, Sustainable Development Goals, International Relations Theory, Alliance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Global Focus
  • Author: Andréa Gill, Thula Pires
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Contexto Internacional
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro
  • Abstract: This article proposes a re-reading of the problem of gender, or as it has been put, more often than not, ‘the woman problem,’ that resists the reproduction of modern/colonial systems of governance and their political norms, standards, ideals and pacts. In turn, it seeks to open pathways to dialogue with, rather than import, conceptions of gender that respond to the terms through which modern/colonial societies have been forged on the continent of Abya Yala, drawing inspiration from decolonial and diasporic perspectives. To this end, the article maps some of the available channels of the gender debate in what has come to be known as the global South from an array of perspectives that highlight the ways in which the relations between categories of oppression and privilege (such as race, class, sexuality and gender) are reflected and positioned so as to grapple with the coloniality of knowledge, power and being. More specifically, it focuses on three ways of dealing with power dynamics in the context of Abya Yala that have influenced how we conceive and respond to questions of gender. Its primary objective is to investigate the politico-epistemic conditions that structure gender thinking in binary and intersectional ways, and, in turn, open space for imbricated approaches forged from within (post-)colonial histories that do not take as their starting point the importation of theoretical references from places otherwise situated within a global political economy of knowledge/power/being. More than a critique of theoretical standpoints from the global North, in and of themselves, which regardless were not thought to respond to our realities, here we analyse the terms through which gender and feminisms have been put up for debate. Without effectively decentring the Eurocentred references that preoccupy gender thinking in our respective disputes, we risk continued distraction from what is at stake when gender is put on the table: the (im)possibilities of living one’s full humanity on one’s own terms.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Political Theory, Diaspora, Women, International Relations Theory
  • Political Geography: Europe, Latin America, Global Focus
  • Author: Mariana Pimenta Oliveira Baccarini, Xaman Korai Minillo, Elia Elisa Cia Alves
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Contexto Internacional
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro
  • Abstract: What is the status of women in the discipline of International Relations (IR) in Brazil? This study provides a pioneering map of gender issues in Brazilian IR, focusing on inequality, discrimination and harassment. It includes a literature review as well as the findings of two sets of research: the first a survey of personal and professional issues faced by academic staff in Brazilian IR, and the second a report on the staffing of IR and related departments at private and public academic institutions in Brazil. Our research shows that despite the specificities of the Brazilian higher education system, Brazilian IR academics conform to international trends in respect of gender issues, facing monetary and/or familial inequalities and gender discrimination in their careers. It also shows that 25% of female academics have experienced undesired sexual contact at least once, and that there is a gap between male and female understandings of what constitutes sexual harassment.
  • Topic: International Relations, Political Theory, International Relations Theory
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Amanda Álvares Ferreira
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Contexto Internacional
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro
  • Abstract: Marysia Zalewski is a Professor at Cardiff University, in Wales, and a renowned International Relations (IR) scholar. She has become a reference for her work with feminism and gender since the 1990s. She has published several books including The ‘Man’ Question in International Relations (edited with Jane Parpart, re-released in 2019 by Routledge), Feminist International Relations: Exquisite Corpse (2013) and Sexual Violence against Men in Global Politics edited with Paula Drumond, Elisabeth Prügl and Maria Stern (2018), among many other books and articles. Her work has brought important contributions in thinking feminist critical methodologies, as well as looking at everyday life as a productive site for empirical and theoretical analysis of how gender is implicated in international politics. She was in Rio de Janeiro for an event at the International Relations Institute of the Pontifical Catholic University (PUC-Rio), where she was part of two panels called ‘Rethinking the Borders between Gender and Sexuality’ and ‘The Rise of Conservatisms and the Challenges to the Women, Gender and Sexuality Agendas.
  • Topic: International Relations, Gender Issues, Political Theory, International Relations Theory, Feminism
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Chengxin Pan
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: The theoretical challenges for international relations (IR) posed by China’s rise cannot be adequately addressed at a mere theoretical level. Predicated on a Cartesian/Newtonian ontology that assumes a mechanistic world made up of discrete, self-contained parts (e.g., sovereign nation-states), mainstream IR theories offer limited understanding of China’s rise. In this article, I propose an alternative, holographic relational ontology. Drawing upon recent IR scholarship on relational ontology and holographic ideas in quantum physics as well as traditional Asian thoughts, this ‘new’ ontology posits that the world exists fundamentally as holographic relations, in which a part is a microcosmic reflection of its larger whole(s). As a part of various wholes in global politics, ‘China’ is thus never an entity in and of itself, but holographic reflections of them. Its rise is best understood as a phenomenon of holographic transition, in which characteristics of those larger wholes are being enfolded into what is known as ‘China’. Thus, both the ‘China’ challenges and ‘China’ opportunities, rather than some inherently ‘Chinese’ properties, are products of China’s holographic relations. This ontology has broader conceptual and methodological as well as policy implications for IR in East Asia and beyond.
  • Topic: International Relations Theory, Holographic Transition, Ontology
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Knud Erik Jörgensen
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: All Azimuth: A Journal of Foreign Policy and Peace
  • Institution: Center for Foreign Policy and Peace Research
  • Abstract: The paper rests on the assumption that theoretical knowledge is valuable. However, such an assumption cannot be taken for granted. Indeed the first objective is to examine the comparative advantages of theoretical knowledge. Second, if 100 theory building workshops would make a difference, what exactly would the difference be? After all, movie production is said to be dominated by Hollywood but Bollywood produces more movies than Hollywood. Nonetheless, the world market is dominated by Hollywood. Hence, if a distinction between academic domestic and global markets is applied, theory building for a number of domestic or regional markets might impact ‘consumption’ patterns in domestic or regional markets but not necessarily the world market. Moreover, the apparent need for 100 workshops rests on the assumption that the IR discipline is under American hegemony but this assumption is severely challenged by empirical research showing that American hegemony remains a fact in institutional terms but not in terms of theoretical fads and debates being followed in the rest of the world. In short, intellectual global hegemony is largely a chimera. Finally, the paper argues that 100 workshops might be necessary but could turn out to be waste of time and for two reasons. While theorizing a bygone world is fine, the workshops should address contemporary issues and be future-oriented. Furthermore, the workshops should contribute to redefine the (contested) core of the discipline.
  • Topic: Markets, Hegemony, International Relations Theory, Discipline
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Eyüp Ersoy
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: All Azimuth: A Journal of Foreign Policy and Peace
  • Institution: Center for Foreign Policy and Peace Research
  • Abstract: The absence of theoretical perspectives in International Relations originating in the worldviews and experiences of human geographies outside the West has elicited persistent calls in the discipline for homegrown theoretical frameworks based on indigenous practices and intellectual sensibilities. Responding to the veritable marginalization of non-Western viewpoints in the discipline belying the plurality of global experiences, a diverse range of studies on homegrown theorizing has ensued. Inasmuch as the initial step in any social theorizing is pertinent to concepts, studies of homegrown theorizing have necessarily engaged conceptual cultivation by drawing on local conceptual resources. Most of these studies, nonetheless, have evinced an analytical proclivity to forge an exclusive and immutable semantic affiliation between concepts and what they signify. Transmuting conceptual indigeneity into conceptional idiosyncrasy, this insular practice of homegrown theorizing can incur manifold degenerative shortcomings. On the other hand, in the lexicon of international relations, influence is a ubiquitous word which is yet to be rigorously conceptualized. By virtue of imparting indigenous properties, a systematic conceptual cultivation of influence is propounded in this study, which arguably transcends the prohibitive semantic inflexibility and associated shortcomings of conceptual exclusivity in homegrown theorizing.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Relations Theory, Academia, Power
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Homeira Moshirzadeh
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: All Azimuth: A Journal of Foreign Policy and Peace
  • Institution: Center for Foreign Policy and Peace Research
  • Abstract: Since the emergence of the Islamic Republic in Iran, social scientists, including international relations (IR) scholars, have been called to develop endogenous/ indigenous theories to reflect Iranian/Islamic points of view. This theorizing has led some Iranian scholars to develop ideas about international life on the basis of Islamic texts and teachings. Furthermore, due to an increasing awareness of the Eurocentric nature of IR theories over the last few years, the international community of IR scholars has become open to non-Western IR theories. This opening has made homegrown theorizing more attractive to Iranian IR scholars, and debates about it have become more vivid. This article seeks to examine the attempts by the Iranian IR community to conceptualize and theorize IR from Iranian/Islamic points of view and to show how contextual factors have limited such attempts. The first part of the article reviews the IR scholarship in Iran to give a portrait of Iranians’ achievements in this regard. The second part examines contextual factors that may have affected homegrown theorizing in Iran, including international agency, sources of inspiration, the dynamism of the IR community, the relationship between academia and government, and intellectual autonomy. An evaluation of this structural context suggests that even if theorizing IR from an Iranian point of view is both possible and preferable, this cannot be done unless certain structural constraints are overcome.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Relations Theory, Academia, Social Science
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East