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Rational Choice Theory and Neo - functionalism - Essay Example

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Rational Choice Theory and Neo - functionalism

International Relations deal with human behavior in the largest of all social groups: the international society. Hedley Bull (1977), one of the founders of ‘international society’ approach states that “The starting point of international relations is the existence of states, or independent political communities, each of which possesses a government and asserts sovereignty in relation to a particular portion of the earth’s surface and a particular segment of the human population”. International Relations theory is an intellectual treasure trove of Weberian ideal types of phenomenon, structures, processes, causes, effects and outcomes. These theories have been used to describe and explain the phenomena of regional integration, regional organization, and illustrate the role of individuals within this system. Its approach is both traditional and non-traditional. It is traditional because it is organized around the major traditions of international relations theory – realism, idealism, historical materialism, constructivism, gender and globalization. It is non – traditional because it re-examines these IR traditions by asking about the truth which lies in the facts and figures being provided. The two major theories that examine the notion of regional organizations are realism and liberalism. Realism has been the dominant theory of world politics since the beginning of academic International Relations....
conditions its approach to the epistemological aspect of the agent-structure problem, the

choice and integrations of different types of explanations within theories of social

behavior. The problem actually raises two epistemological issues. The first is the choice

of the form of explanation corresponding respectively to agents and structures. This

choice depends largely on the kinds of properties of agents and structures that have been

deemed casually significant. Thus, approaches to social inquiry that conceives of human

beings as reflective, goal - directed subjects, such as rational choice theory generates

agent explanations that are broadly speaking, "interpretive" - that is, cast in terms of the

goals, beliefs and self understanding of the agents. On the other hand, approaches that

conceive of human beings as nothing more than complex organisms processing stimuli -

such as behaviorism - generate agent - explanations that are more mechanistically casual

in form. The situation is similar with respect to "structural" explanations. Social theories

that reduce system structures to the properties of individuals usually construe the

explanatory role of structures as one of constraining the choices of pre-existing agents,

while those that conceptualize system structures as irreducible entities underling agents



typically understands structures as generating or explaining agents themselves.

The second epistemological issue concerns the relative

importance of agent-explanations and structural - explanations, of whatever type, in

social theory. However, this issue is of less importance as neo realists and world system ...Show more

Summary

International Relations theory is an intellectual treasure trove of Weberian ideal types of phenomenon, structures, processes, causes, effects and outcomes. These theories have been used to describe and explain the phenomena of regional integration, regional organization, and illustrate the role of individuals within this system. …
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Rational Choice Theory and Neo - functionalism essay example
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