This basically means that the criticism to feminist political theories resembles more the substance of other IR theories.
6. First off, we should discuss the differences between system level theories and state level theories. What are the benefits to studying international relations at the state level? What are the drawbacks?
In its most basic formulation, state level theories of international politics refer to those ideas which place the country at the core of political actions and decisions. Examples of this sense include the previously discussed realism and transnationalism schools of thought, which argue that the state places itself based on its particular interests. The relevant example of system level theories refers to the class system theories, and they are characterized by the fact that decisions and actions in international politics are not established based on national interests, but relative to the desires and power of specific groups -- generally those which possess large accumulations of capitals.
The analysis of international politics through the lenses of state level theories pin points to the existence of numerous benefits as well as limitations. The following lines succinctly reveal these advantages and disadvantages.
Benefits of state level theories:
It offers a universal look at what the country's position is in ensemble
It allows comparisons across countries
It simplifies the process of historic studies
Limitations of state level theories:
The centralized approach may not represent a faithful depiction of the feelings and interests of all citizens, but just the decisions of the political leaders
The action of the country may have been decided by a biased individual who was seeking his own interest rather than the well-being of the country
State level theories allow for the creation of stereotypes and could easily include untrue generalizations
7. How do individual level theories differ from both the state and system level theories? What are the benefits to studying international relations at the individual level as opposed to the system and state level?
The most relevant example of individual level theories is that of the feminist studies into the forces which drive and characterize international relations. This approach is extremely criticized for its shortages relative to the state and system level approaches. For once, there is the most important difference given by the actual focal point of the study. While the latter reveal the interests, decisions and actions of a wide group of people, the individual level studies only focus on the person. The second difference is given by the loss of credibility and relevance manifested by the individual level theories. Finally, the third difference is given by the character of the final report in the meaning that the system and state level theories are based on more technical and factual information, whereas individual level studies tend to be more subjective, as they are based on the forces which influence the individual at the center of the respective study. This means that the individual level study can be approached as an interesting piece of information, but not entirely relevant and useful in a strict context.
Regardless of these differences, and mainly limitations of individual level theories of international relations, fact remains that this approach generates a series of advantages, including the following two ones:
It reveals individual forces which could easily be overlooked in state and system level approaches, but which are relevant to a specific category of citizens
It gives the sense that it speaks directly to the individual; this basically means that the individual is motivated to feel and act as part of history and make a difference for the better within the contemporaneous society; if for instance a group of politically independent individuals reads an article revealing the positive impacts of women politicians (they for instance are more giving and prone to negotiation than men), this new feminist information could change their voting decisions for the following elections
8. Discuss some of the criticisms of peace studies theory. Do you believe that today's world makes this type of theory "unrealistic"?
The core element of peace studies is that they strive to identify means of preventing conflicts from emerging. If however conflicts have indeed commenced, peace studies strive to find ways to resolve them through the implementation of the most peaceful means possible and with the assurance that both, or all, parties involved get out of the conflict feeling like winners. Personally, not only that today's global context makes this concept unrealistic, but human nature in its essence, history and man make it unrealistic -- it is a utopia.
Literary criticisms of peace studies is generally scarce and the explanation in this sense is simple -- peace studies have initially been recognized as utopian and the academicians and other scholars recognized the futility of wasting their time criticizing a concept that is in its essence unrealistic. Nevertheless, some arguments against peace studies state the following:
Peace studies seldom offer technical information on how conflicts could be resolved for the benefit of all parties, but simply argue this necessity
When they do promote suggestion for conflict resolutions, they make use of political and economic arguments, but these historians are not specialized in economic or politics, meaning as such that the relevance of their solutions is limited, if at all existent
They produce graduate students with degrees in an unrealistic field of study
The promote interstate tensions as they generally present the most powerful countries, today the United States of America, as the party holding most of the responsibility and blame for the emerged conflicts
Peace studies are "incoherent, incapable of being a serious topic of study, and loaded with political bias" (Sayre, 2003).
Camestaro, N.A., Realism and Transnationalism: Competing Visions International Security, Boston University, Retrieved from http://www.bu.edu/law/central/jd/organizations/journals/international/volume25n1/documents/113-162.pdf on October 5, 2009
Hobson, J.M., the State and International Relations, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0521643910
Kemos, a., the Influence of Thucydides in the Modern World, Hellenic Resources Network, http://www.hri.org/por/thucydides.html last accessed on October 5, 2009
Sayre, B., 2003, Peace Studies' War Against America, Canadian Center for Teaching Peace, http://www.peace.ca/peacestudiescriticism.htm last accessed on October 5, 2009
Sylvester, C., Feminist Theory and International Relations in a Postmodern Era, Cambridge University Press, 1994, ISBN 0521459842
Why did the U.S.A. And USSR become Rivals in the Period 1945 to 1949? Greenfield History Site, http://www.johndclare.net/cold_war1_answer.htm last accessed on October 5, 2009