The State and Other Actors in Contemporary World Politics

Topics: International relations, World War I, European Union Pages: 10 (3961 words) Published: November 12, 2008
What is the literature of state centric realism?
What are the challenges of this state centric realism?
Transnational relationships

State Centric realism
Actors as states in the stage that is the world. States are the only important actors. Mixed actor system-
What characteristics define an actor, what allows us to say that particular group is an actor, while another is not, what makes an actor significant? Traditional view on international relations, which does rely on states, and then offer challenges and other viewpoints.

1.HJ Morgenthau, his most famous book is politics amongst nations- established many of the main concepts that came to identify the discipline of international relations. IR comes mostly from the USA. The problem with it being a discipline does shape what comes later. His work is very pessimistic. He was a jew that fled from Nazi Germany in the 50’s. political scientist that became very interested in the way that the world turned out. Their world of the view was quite pessimistic because of the war. 1920’s IR was rather optimistic, the first professor of IR. IP was set up in 1919, the year after the first world war but at a time when the league of nations had just been set up. There was an optimism saying how to improve the world but then there was the great depression, protectionism, and then the world war, cold war. So it looked to IP like the world did not get better, so they became very pessimistic. Realism- one of the main perspective of international relations. Political realism had dominated through much of the early years of the study of international relations. 2.Defending Political realism- the perspective of realism is not about the real world, the real world is far too complicated, its about a simplified model of the real world that claims to capture the essence. It’s a simplification of the real world, but it is not a real world. It offers very useful explanations. You cannot study the world in any accurate way, you have to offer a simplification. 7 major points: a.State as actor assumption- the only actor that you really need to study is the state. You say where does the discipline come from? This was probably a good place to start, but it does not fill all the requirements of today. The state to the realist is the most important actor. b.The state as a unitary actor- when you want to represent a state in IR you draw a circle, and they interact, maybe war, maybe diplomacy, do we have to concern ourselves with politics that occur outside the states? The realists say, NO, we don’t have to. It’s a single actor, you don’t have to look around. National Interest- assumes that there are certain interests that the whole nation is united about. Microeconomics- the study of how firms interact, but most economist don’t look inside the firm, firms are firms, they are all the same. The realists are saying the same, states are like firms, they compete for power and influence. Realists don’t look inside the state, like eco don’t look inside the firm. It’s an important perspective about simplifying reality. The main national interest is the survival of the state, so there is no need to question it, and there is a way to simplify reality to see what one state does in relations to another. c.Power as a relationship is sought by states- if one state is more powerful, another is less powerful than another. The power than any state has relative to any other state. That lets you assume that we live in a Zero-Sum world- the more power that one state acquires, its at the expense of another. Then Power in all forms is sought. Power is defined very simply- the ability of one state to get another state to do something or not to do something that it otherwise wants to do. For the realist, power is what states are seeking. d.Sovereignty-1640 there is no legal authority superior to the state. The risk of modern war as greater than anything that we have experienced before. In the 30 years...
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