World Politics - rubric Theory and methodology of international relations
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MAIN PAGE > Journal "World Politics" > Rubric "Theory and methodology of international relations"
Theory and methodology of international relations
Vladimirova A.V. - Asian and African Countries in the United Nations: Soft Power Analysis pp. 1-13


Abstract: The Soft power theory is popular among scholars and politicians, however, the nature of this phenomenon can complicate its evaluation, especially in the research, based on quantitative methods. At present, we are facing a trend of rising violence in the world, and soft power indexes, created by consulting agencies, are not enough. They are important indeed, partially because these reports remind us of the alternatives to coercion. But their authors often put emphasis on the states possessing significant political power resources. Probably, it leads to the misperception that countries, which din't have significant hard power resources, are unable to accumulate enough soft power to implement it as a foreign policy tool.The aim of this paper is to demonstrate that this assumption is not always correct. We use the linear regression model to show that Asian and African countries can use soft power in the United Nations even if their hard power is small. The research contains the information on the resolutions of the General Assembly of the United Nations and 124 countries-submitters and co-submitters of resolution drafts in 2001-2015. As we fully admit that soft power indexes are difficult to create and apply, this paper also covers soft power limits and critique.
Kuznetsov D.A. - Potential of forming a complex approach to studying regional integration and trans-regionalism
pp. 1-13


Abstract: Based on the review of elaborations within the theory of integration and new regionalism, the author considers the importance of formation of a complex system approach to studying the processes of regional integration and trans-regionalism. The author judges from the essential likelihood of processes of regional and trans-regional integration and the potential of forming a synthetic approach to studying their structure, internal and external environment under the conditions they operate in, and the effects and potential of their development in the context of further transformation of the modern political system. The article describes the attempt to critically analyze the key elaborations within the theory of integration and new regionalism aimed for the purpose of developing a complex approach. The key author’s contribution in the study of the topic is the comparison of the main theoretical elaborations and the formulation of the author’s definition of regional integration and trans-regionalism and the complex system approach to studying integrational processes - the author’s research programme of this topic which could be used for further studies of integration.  
Mukhamadeev D.V., Shevchenko Y.N. - Trade, economic and sanctions wars: an attempt to theoretically differentiate the ideas in the context the international relations science
pp. 12-22


Abstract: The research purpose of this article is to attempt to differentiate the concepts and theoretical backgrounds of economic sanctions and trade wars as popular instruments of economic coercion. In the authors’ opinion, such differentiation is critically important for the conceptualization of economic sanctions as a foreign policy instrument kindling the interest of both specialists in international relations and the global and regional international politics practitioners. From a practical perspective, the interest in analyzing this issue is determined by the fact that over the past century, economic sanctions have become one of the key instruments of achieving a state’s foreign policy goals. They are mostly used by developed countries with extensive economic and technological capabilities (e.g. U.S.), which are striving for abatements of their less powerful partners regarding foreign and domestic policy issues. Yet another argument in favour of studying economic sanctions, trade wars and other instruments of economic coercion in the context of the theory of international relations is the possibility to shed more light on the nature of power as the most significant concept of modern political science. A detailed analysis of theoretical discussions about the phenomenon of trade and economic wars compared with economic sanctions allows the authors to outline a set of fundamental differences between these phenomena in the context of modern economic diplomacy.  
Lukashuk A.A. - Integration processes within the federalist and neo-functionalist theories
pp. 14-22


Abstract: The research subject is integration processes. The aim of the research is to reveal the essence of integration processes within the federalist and neo-functionalist theories. According to the works by K.Wheare and W. Riker, the factors promoting successful integration are the feeling of military vulnerability, craving for economic benefits, similarity of political institutions, geographic neighborhood, and craving for independence from other countries. Neo-functionalists - E. Haas, P. Schmitter - defined three groups of conditions which, in their opinion, determine the success of integration processes. Integration associations and processes within these theories have the following features: federalists consider integration association as a “federal bargain” in which the stronger state offers protection and wealth to the weaker ones in exchange for their resources. The specificity of integration processes according to the neo-functionalist theory consists in the spill-over of integration from one economic sphere to another, which spills over into the third one, etc. The article also outlines the weak points of each of the theories: federalists don’t disclose the very process of integration concentrating more on its final result, while neo-functionalists, despite the fact that they’d build a model which presumably covers a sufficient number of variables to get an unbiased idea of the successfulness of an integration association, didn’t take into account external factors which are also crucial for the development of integration processes.
Borodin E.A. - Reasonable approach to global politics. pp. 20-46


Abstract: This article is devoted to the studies of the role of reason in the modern political processes, global politics and foreign policies of the nation-states. The article attempts to clarify the basic terms regarding the term "reason", showing how the factor of reason is comprehended by the parties to the political relations and political process. It is established that reason is a complicated structure, and it may manifest itself at individual, collective, and distributed levels in political and social activities of a person.  The appearance of the network structures in the modern society forms new network type of reason, which influences the reasonability criteria and evaluation of reasonability of certain political strategies and courses. As a result it becomes clear that speaking of reasonable policy, we often mean different bases and criteria for being reasonable. Moreover, different cultures have their own ideas of reason and being reasonable in political activities based upon their own traditions and values. At the same time the noosphere teaching of V.I. Vernadskiy allows to synthesize various approaches to reason and its role in politics within a single paradigm, which is brought together by the modern ideology of noovitism.
Fartyshev A.N. - Assessment of political relations of geopolitical subjects in the modern world using A.Wolfers’ “friend-foe” scale
pp. 21-33


Abstract: The research subject is the geopolitical space as a system of links between geopolitical subjects. The research object is their political interrelations and the character of intersubject links. The author solves the problem of quantitative assessment of complex humanitarian and geographical categories and the ways of their mathematical expression, such as geopolitical position and its particula parameters for extracting a scientifically grounded geopolitical knowledge. Special attention is given to the geopolitics of Siberia as one of the most troubled regions crucial for Russia’s national security. The author uses the “discord and collaboration”, formulated by Arnold Wolfers in the period of the cold war, actualizing it to assess the modern intersubject links. The author composes the model of geopolitical position of the region which is the relation of the geopolitical force of the surrounding subjects to the subject under consideration, where the each subject’s coefficient is geographical influence on the subject and the character of political relations according to “friend-foe” scale. The author composes the methodology of typological assessment of political relation and estimates the character of intersubject links for Siberia as a model region and its surrounding subjects. The developed theoretical constructions help to come closer to the quantitative assessment of geopolitical position as a type of geographical position.  
Chebotarev Y.A. - The Liberal Intergovernmental Approach in the Context of Modern Regional Studies by the example of Latin America pp. 26-34


Abstract: The present article explores the theoretical basis of modern regional studies and comparative integration. The article covers the formation of existing integration theories and their peculiar features; fixes the historical dominant of Western European experience in the process of integration theories creation. The author marks out the fundamental differences between the context of Western European integration and regional processes in most other regions of the world; gives a brief description of the liberal intergovernmental approach, its origins, history, and circumstances of its development, and the reasons for its wide applicability. As an example, the article appeals to the experience of regional initiatives of Latin America, their specificity and fundamental principles of functioning, their difference from Western European practice and compliance of Latin American experience with the hypotheses of the liberal intergovernmental approach, explicableness of modern phenomena of Latin American regionalism on its basis. The author draws a conclusion as for applicability of the Liberal Intergovernmental Approach in modern studies of regional organizations as a basic theoretical approach, makes assumptions about its perspective further adaptation, highlights relevance of this direction as well as the theoretical work necessary to understand and systematize the experience of practical research and regional specifics.
Ravochkin N.N., Bobrikov V.N. - Contextual dependence of the effectiveness of political and legal institutions functioning and the implementation of social transformations
pp. 26-40


Abstract: The authors consider the issues of modern political and legal institutions functioning. The research subject is the processes of renewal and formation of political and legal institutions in their connection with social context (sociosphere). Special attention is given to three political and legal institutions of modern globalizing society - political parties, mass media and social organizations, associations and movements. The authors describe the stages of societies’ evolution and note the basic set of criteria and parameters which allow classifying countries according to the stage of their development. The authors consider the transformations happening to the above mentioned institutions in Western Europe and the U.S., i.e. the global core countries. The scientific novelty of the research consists in the revelation of contextual linkage when defining the effectiveness of functioning and vectors of transformation of political and legal institutions and their practices. The authors prove that the considered institutions are being transformed in accordance with the transformations in the authorities which more often use humanist ideas and permission methods instead of direct coercion. The authors note a complex impact of globalization and digitalization on the institutions of parties, mass media and social associations. The need for their analysis is determined by the rapid growth of their role in public life.  
Shitova E.N. - “Democracies with adjectives” in the discourse of political science: the place of Latin America and the post-Soviet space on the theoretical world map pp. 45-63


Abstract: Nowadays an essential gap between formal democratic institutions and cultural, historical, and value traditions historically peculiar to certain countries/societies can be observed. The phenomenon of democracies conforming to the formal, procedural attributes, but giving rise to doubt in their democratic essence, produced new concepts describing the existing changes which are generally called “democracies with adjectives”. At present this discourse covers more than 60 countries, and the most extensive discussion takes place around the countries of Latin America. The author uses the system, structural-functional and comparative-political approaches, the methods of induction, deduction, analysis, synthesis, observation, modeling, and expert assessments. The article explains the concept of “democracies with adjectives”, describes the problem field of this concept, and the main phases of its establishment, outlines the problem spheres influenced by the democracy discourse, shows the countries involved in this discourse and the strategies of the authors of the concept. 
Grachikov E.N. - "Chinese School" of International Relations: the Right to Methodological Identity pp. 47-65


Abstract: In the English-speaking segment of the global academic environment, the concept of the «Chinese School» is known also as the English School. Despite its young age and initially claimed position to follow the Western methodology and big theories, adherence to which has been daily confirmed by Chinese scholars in their articles, monographs and doctoral dissertations, the "Chinese School" from the very beginning of its existence proclaimed the main principle (not yet paradigm) - it will be based on Chinese culture and Chinese history, which should be included in the global international research on a par with Western culture and history.The article deals with the evolution of Chinese thought as a part of the international global context, which has passed its own "big" debates and entered into controversy with influential Western scholars for their right to methodological consciousness. Using quantitative and qualitative methods, the author gives a general picture of the current state of international research in China, analyzes the complex process of development of the various "approaches", which now make up the concept, but not a single "Chinese school". The article concludes that Chinese scholars are becoming an integral part of the global academic environment, while reproducing the dominance of Western theories of international relations, and even its "innovations" are considered in the context of Western research paradigms.
Pashkovsky P.I. - On particular directions of the cultural and psychological methodology of international political studies pp. 53-59


Abstract: The research object is the peculiarities of directions of the cultural and psychological methodology of international political studies. The author notes that the Russian political science hasn’t given appropriate attention to these directions until recently. The author describes the specialists’ approaches and considers the following directions of the cultural and psychological methodology of international political studies: the person-centered approach, the study of the influence of public opinion, the study of impact of personal and corporate interests, irrational manifestations and other psychological factors, an “operational code”; the “historical experience of generations” concept; the mental approach. The research methodology is based on the system approach. The author uses the historical-genetic, socio-psychological and comparative methods. The author proves that the cultural and psychological methodology of international political studies is aimed at the penetration into the “human dimension” of the world politics and international relations, into the mental sphere of a society, a group and a person in order to detect the determinants and prerequisites of particular decisions and actions in the mentioned sphere and to make more realistic forecasts. 
Ursul A.D. - The global vector of international relations
pp. 60-71


Abstract: The author of the article notes that international processes have global potential, which hasn’t been completely revealed yet, and characteristics which determine their global orientation. Global features, potential and orientation of international processes manifest themselves through principles and general patterns involving all their participants and all the spheres of these social relations. Some international processes won’t gain global status at all, and the author defines the main criteria of their globallity. First of all, it is the qualitative-contensive criterion of globality as a spreading potential unity of particular social patterns, tendencies and principles. Besides, the author considers the spatial-geographical and the temporal criteria of globality, and the criterion connected with the problem of global safety. The author uses the global and the system approaches together with the integrative-interdisciplinary, historical and evolutionary approaches, the methods of scientific forecasting and futurology. Further inclusion of international relations into the process of solving global problems requires the improvement of supranational mechanisms of administration right up to the upcoming establishment of the global level of administration and the formation of global law and global values. The author makes a hypothesis that the phenomenon of statehood will keep the leading role not only in the transition to sustainable development, but also in other directions of the evolution of international processes. The author anticipates the development of international processes for the foreseeable future: the analysis of possible evolution of state as a key subject of international relations implies further development of these relations in terms of spreading sustainable development of humanity on the planet and beyond.  
Bogdanov A.N. - Factors of order in the international politics: rethinking Neo-Realist interpretations pp. 61-72


Abstract: The author delves into the three most important Neo-Realist theories forming the basics of the modern understanding of the key patterns of international politics: R. Gilpin’s concept of the global international system, K. Waltz’s concept of the international structure, and H. Bull’s concept of international order. The author focuses on the problems of sustainability of the international order, predictability of states’ behaviour, and compliance of their policy with generally accepted standards and values, which influences international security and determines the urgency of a comprehensive study of this problem. The author uses the method of comparative analysis to detect the key peculiarities of the Neo-Realist interpretation of the notions “system”, “structure” and “order” in the international politics, and critically assesses the adequacy of their explanatory potential in modern geopolitical conditions. The main conclusion of the article is that the Neo-Realist worldview is gradually losing its topicality which can be seen in the fact that system changes are becoming more independent of the dynamics of material wealth distribution structure. Consequently, “anarchy” and the principles of a sovereign state are losing their influence turning into merely descriptive notions stating the absence of a superior sovereign power in the international politics and the formal equality of rights of nation-states.  
Rep'eva A.M. - Nation-building. Formation and substantial characteristics (the USA and Russia). pp. 68-79


Abstract: The Russian state was historically formed as a poly-ethnical state throughout the centuries. That is why the problem of forming a united civil self-conscience has always been topical. The nation formation process is a complicated and contradictory matter, since in touches upon national identity of citizens due to which the state has to choose the principle for the nation formation. Among the basic principles one may single out the following: nation formation based on multi-cultural policy, based upon civil nation, or based upon a dominating ethnic group within the state, which is capable of uniting other ethnic groups around itself. Most of European and American states face the problem of nation formation, and this problem is also relevant for Russia,, since in two decades after the breakup of the Soviet Union it still is unable to form an efficient nation formation policy. Due to this fact the issue of formation of a general Russian identity becomes a topical goal for state and society.  The author chooses Russia and the USA for the study, and she makes a comparison.  The choice of these two states due to them being largest territorial states and having ethnical variety.  Also, both Russia and the USA face problems related to the inflow of migrants, and nation building crisis.  
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