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Sociology 2: Class 16: Complex Interdependence & Constructivism

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1 Sociology 2: Class 16: Complex Interdependence & Constructivism
Copyright © 2010 by Evan Schofer Do not copy or distribute without permission

2 Announcements Class Schedule: Wrap up theories today
Introduce topic for next week: Globalization, Culture, Conflict.

3 Theories General perspectives on the economy Sociological theories
Adam Smith Marx Keynesianism Sociological theories Modernization theory World Systems Theory (WST) / dependency theory World polity theory (WPT) / institutional theory Political Science Realism Complex Interdependence Brawley refers to it as “Institutionalism” Constructivism.

4 Review: Realism Basic assumptions of realism:
Keohane and Nye, p. 20-1 1. States as coherent units are the dominant actors in world politics States are dominant – they are the most important entities in the international system Multi-nationals, IGOs, and INGOs are unimportant Without an army or nuclear weapons, you’re nothing! Also, states are unitary actors (on international issues).

5 Review: Realism 2. Military force (or threat of force) is the most effective means of wielding power The “strong” survive and prosper 3. The politics of “security” is what matters “Security” = policies, plans, and preparations regarding war & national defense States use other policies, like economic sanctions or trade to get their way… but that is secondary Note: This disagrees with World-System Theory WST claims that economic power = most important.

6 Complex Interdependence
Keohane & Nye: Complex Interdependence A critical response to realism Called “Institutionalism” in the Brawley reading Major claims: 1. Societies are interconnected in many ways Not just leaders and militaries, as realism suggests 2. States interact over many kinds of issues War and security isn’t the only issue Economics, environmental issues, etc., are also addressed.

7 Complex Interdependence
3. Military force is not central to inter-state relations Question: If military force doesn’t matter, what does? Answer #1: International organizations They are the playing field of global politics Answer #2: “Soft Power”: “Getting others to want the outcomes you want” (Nye p. 5) “Soft power rests on the ability to shape the preferences of others

8 Complex Interdependence
4. International organizations are the center of global politics They set agendas (e.g., trade, environmental issues) Within international organizations, states form coalitions and push for their interests All states have an equal vote in most IGOs… so they barter and haggle. Result: world politics is a lot like national politics.

9 Complex Interdependence
Claim: To study global politics, you have to study what goes on in international organizations Example: WTO policy A World-system theorist would predict that the WTO would always support interests of capitalists A Realist would ignore the WTO as irrelevant A Complex Interdependence scholar would examine coalitions, alliances, and votes to see what is going on.

10 Complex Interdependence
Claim: “International organizations are frequently congenial institutions for weak states”… Keohane and Nye, p. 31 Nations have equal voting power in most IGOs This allows small/weak nations to form powerful coalitions Ex: poor nations can sometimes block or influence WTO rules Many IGOs support norms of equity Example: the UN uses money from wealthy countries to aid those in poverty.

11 Complex Interdependence
Both realism and WST predict that weak nations will be mercilessly exploited & dominated Complex interdependence predicts otherwise Weak countries will be able to use international organizations to improve their situation Ex: Poor countries have negotiated for special treatment in many environmental treaties.

12 Complex Interdependence
Realism and WST argue that all nations will look out for themselves (or capitalist classes) Ex: They will cheat on environmental treaties; They will build weapons of mass destruction Treaties and IGOs are inherently fragile… Powerful nations will ignore or abolish them when the are no longer useful Complex Interdependence: Through IGOs, countries can work for the collective good Complex Interdependence predicts that nations can improve the environment, eradicate WMD Ex: Non-proliferation treaty; Environmental treaties.

13 Complex Interdependence
Criticisms of Complex Interdependence Summarized in article by Waltz 1. “The world is less interdependent than is usually supposed” Levels of trade aren’t much higher than in 1914, just before WWI; most MNCs are still rooted in one country. 2. Political/military power still matters US power holds up global institutions (IMF, World Bank) Ultimately, economics is subordinate to politics.

14 Constructivism Sikkink, Kathryn “Transnational Politics, International Relations Theory, and Human Rights.” A criticism of realism; related to complex interdependence Calls attention to global norms like “human rights” Argument: “Non-state actors” (e.g., INGOs) establish norms, which states feel pressure to abide by Similar to “World Polity Theory”…

15 Constructivism Sikkink, p. 520:
“While states continue to be the primary actors in this system, their actions need to be understood not as self-help behavior in anarchy, but as the actions of members of an international society of states and non-state actors.” “…states may make changes in their behavior not only because of the economic costs of sanctions, but because leaders of countries care about what leaders of other countries think about them.”

16 Theory: Remarks The explosion of global governance, apparent influence of “norms” was a surprise to existing theories Esp., Realism & World-system theory Now scholars are trying to make sense of things Keohane&Nye and Sikkink are political sciences responses… Point out the way that “social actors” are interconnected; influenced by norms States are actors… but less “unitary”, more constrained than realism suggests.

17 Theory: Remarks World Polity Theory is a more radical view than even constructivism Argues for the primacy of culture… “Social actors” are not the starting point of the analysis… culture is Social actors are fundamentally constructed by culture Or, as John Meyer points out… they are more like “actors” like those on the stage or in movies States play the part of “being a state”…

18 Theory: Remarks What I want you to know:
1. Be able to briefly summarize theories 2. Know (or be able to think up) examples that support or contradict particular theories What does the theory predict? What information or evidence would convince you that WST was absolutely right? Or totally wrong? 3. Hopefully start to be able to apply these theories to new topics How would a WST scholar think about international organizations? What does a Realist think about culture?

19 Cultural Globalization
A chance to apply theories to a new topic… First: “Culture” refers to many things: 1. Popular culture: movies, music, clothing 2. World Polity Theory: Culture = common norms, cognitive models, scripts. 3. Group culture/identity: Shared beliefs, traditions, world-views, way of life Example: An indigenous that shares a particular religion, language, cuisine, etc. Example: National groups (e.g., the French)

20 Cultural Globalization
Question: Is there such a Orange County culture? If so, what are some of its distinctive features? Food? Language? Accent? Worldview?

21 Globalization and Culture
One obvious trend: Western (often American) culture is increasingly dominant Ex: English is becoming the global language And, many local languages are dying out Ex: Western music, clothing are popular everywhere Other examples from readings? Personal experiences?

22 Perspectives: Globalization & Culture
1. Modernization theory Dominant view in 1950s and 1960s, now criticized Observation: People in colonies & non-Western countries were adopting “modern”/Western views Prediction: Traditional “cultures” would die out, as everyone became “modern” and “rational” People thought this was a good thing “Primitive” cultures were replaced by “advanced” ones Local identities were replaced by modern social & political identities “Superstition” replaced by rationality, science, “enlightenment”.

23 Perspectives: Globalization & Culture
2. Marxism / World-System Theory Argues that power & culture are intertwined Marx: Ideas of a society are the ideas of the ruling class Western economic domination is accompanied by cultural domination Often called “Cultural Imperialism” Westerners can effectively spread their culture via colonialism (and later via media, advertising) Some argue that this helps maintain economic dominance Non-Western people may reject their own culture, prefer to wear Western clothes, listen to Brittany Spears, and eat at McDonalds.

24 Perspectives: Globalization & Culture
3. World Polity Theory Argues that a key facet of globalization is the emergence of a “world culture Embodied, in part, in international associations Global culture provides norms, scripts, and models that shape the behavior of governments Consequence: Governments, laws, societies are becoming increasingly “isomorphic” Contrast w/ WST: World culture may relate to historical dominance of West…. But, culture is not principally a mechanism of furthering the dominance of the West Rather, it now evolves somewhat independently of the interests of powerful countries Ex: Environmentalism, human rights…

25 Perspectives: Globalization & Culture
4. Hybridization: A view from anthropology Reading: Hannerz: Scenarios for Peripheral Cultures Contrasts two views on culture A. Homogenization (also called “saturation”) Similar to predictions of Modernization Theory The idea: that globalization erodes local cultures, makes the whole world homogeneous “As transnational cultural influences unendingly pound on the sensibilities of people of the periphery, peripheral culture will step by step assimilate more and more of the imported meanings and forms, becoming gradually indistinguishable from the center.”

26 Perspectives: Globalization & Culture
Hannerz: Scenarios for Peripheral Cultures. B. Hybridization (also: creolization, maturation) Claim: Much local culture is embedded in daily life Locals are influenced by global culture, but also re-interpret it and adapt it to their lives “Local cultural entrepreneurs have gradually mastered the alien forms which reach them through the transnational commodity flows and in other ways, taking them apart, tampering and tinkering with them in such a way that the resulting new forms are more responsive to, and at the same time in part outgrowths of, local everyday life… Can anyone think of examples?

27 Readings Readings for week 9 also address the “Clash of civilizations”
Are there large cultural groups – “civilizations” – that will inevitably come into conflict? Huntington reading argues YES Bowen reading argues NO Also, optional reading by Hironaka.

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