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LEVELS OF ANALYSIS

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  1. Introduction
    1. All theories presuppose analysis on different levels depending on the questions they have regarding world politics.
    2. Different theories focus on different levels.
      • realism � individual + state level
      • idealism � individual + state level
      • neorealism and neoliberalism � system level
      • �Great Man� theory – individual level (highly influential individuals who, due to either their personal charisma, intelligence and wisdom or Machiavellianism used power in a way that had a decisive historical impact.)
    3. Levels of Analysis
      1. Individual Level of Analysis – international politics is being driven primarily by actions of individuals, or outcomes of psychological forces
        1. Decisions are made by individual leaders.
        2. Generally, human nature is the main focus.
        3. Examples of theories: cognitive theories; Some commentators distinguish between “cognitive constructivism” which is about how the individual understands things, and “social constructivism”, which emphasizes how meanings and understandings grow out of social encounters
        4. Types of data considered
          • Leadership style
          • Leader�s beliefs, goals and value system
          • Personal relationship
        5. Some theories recognize that human behavior cannot be examined effectively only as individual behavior, that is why they also look at how organizations influence actions.
          • Groupthink
        6. State Level of Analysis – being driven by the domestic regimes of states
          1. The focus is on states seen as unique. State behavior derives from its unique features.
          2. The state is not seen as unitary.
            • Bureaucracy
            • Legislature
            • Interest groups
            • people
          3. Generally, the specific features of individual states are the focus.
            • Type of government.
            • The state is put in the context of the situation.
            • At this level the mechanisms or the specific types of policy available to states given the situation are also examined.
          4. Examples of theories:
            • Regime theory – “institutions possessing norms, decision rules, and procedures which facilitate a convergence of expectations.” (Krasner)
            • bureaucratic politics – stress the motivation by the relevant officials in the government bureaucracy to protect or promote their own agency’s special interests (in competition with other agencies) as a major motivating factor in shaping the timing and the content of government decisions.
            • Military-industrial complex – A coalition consisting of the military and industrialists who profit by manufacturing arms and selling them to the government.
  • Democratic peace theory � democracies do not fight other democracies.� This does not mean that they are pacifist.
    1. Types of data considered
  • Form of government
  • Political institutions
  • Economic structure and level of development
  • Ideology
  • History
  • Culture – political culture is a people’s preference for one way of making decisions about how a nation should be governed. It is a people’s views on who should make policy for the group and how the policy-makers should go about their task.
  • Public opinion
    1. System-Level Analysis – the effect that international anarchy exerts on state behavior
      1. The focus is on the system composed of similar (sovereign) states.
      2. System logic drives behavior in world politics.
      3. Examples of theories:
  • Balance of power – world peace is best served when no one power in any region gains sufficient military strength to dominate other states in that region.
  • Long-cycle theory � an interpretation of world history that focuses on repeating patterns of interstate behavior, such as the outbreak of systemwide general wars at regular intervals, after long periods during which other patters (global peace) were dominant
  • Hegemonic stability � the argument that a dominant state is necessary to enforce international cooperation, maintain international rules and regimes, and keep the global peace.
  • Security Dilemma � the propensity of armaments undertaken by one state for ostensibly defensive purposes to threaten other states, which arm in reaction, with the result that their national security declines as their arms increase
    1. Types of data considered
  • Structural characteristics � horizontal authority structure, anarchical system
  • States, IGOs, transnational actors and NGOs are the actors in this system.
  • Military strength + power relationships
    • unipolar system
    • bipolar
    • multipolar
  • Economic capabilities � GNP, economic interdependence
  • The norms of the system

 

  • Implications of the levels of analysis
    1. Organize thinking
    2. Different levels of analysis can be used depending on the research question
    3. Factors at all levels must be considered for the whole picture.
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