Published on February 27, 2014
Theme “Major International Relations Theories” DG 5. Post-positivist era: Poststructuralism and more February 19th, 2014 Anna A. Dekalchuk, Lecturer at the Department of Applied Politics, Higher School of Economics – St. Petersburg
DG outline 1. Liza & Daniil present… 2. How to study social world? 3. What is poststr. philosophy about?
2. How to study social world? EXPLANATORY THEORIES VS. CONSTITUTIVE THEORIES
2. How to study social world? EXPLANATORY THEORIES: • see the world as something external to the theories of it; • aim at uncovering regularities in human behaviour and thereby explaining the social world in much the same way as a natural scientist might explain the physical world (unity of science argument); • strive to find the causal relations that „rule‟ world politics (dependent and independent variables).
2. How to study social world? CONSTITUTIVE THEORIES: • think that theories actually help construct the world (theories about the world shape how we act, and thereby make those theories become self-confirming); • see our language and concepts as helping create the reality (the very concept we use to think about the world help to make that world what it is); • see theory as not external to the things it is trying to explain (and as constructing how we think about the world) => theories define what we see as the external world; • casual epistemology of the hard sciences is inappropriate to study the social world.
2. How to study social world? FOUNDATIONAL THEORIES VS. ANTIFOUNDATIONAL THEORIES WHAT IS EPISTEMOLOGY?
2. How to study social world? FOUNDATIONAL THEORIES: • hold that all truth claims can be judged true or false (against empirical „facts‟); ANTI-FOUNDATIONAL THEORIES: • think that truth claims cannot be judged since there are never neutral grounds for doing so (these grounds are simply a reflection of an adherence to a particular view of epistemology). What were the reasons for the constitutive antifoundational theories to become popular in the 90s?
2. How to study social world? Positivism Post-positivism* inter-paradigm debate intra-paradigm debates EXPLANATORY & FOUNDATIONAL THEORIES Historical sociology CONSTITUTIVE & ANTI-FOUNDATIONAL THEORIES What are 4 main assumptions of positivist epistemology?
2. How to study social world? 4 main assumptions of positivist epistemology: • Belief in the unity of science (same methodologies for scientific and non-scientific world); • Distinction between facts and values with facts being neutral between theories; • Social world like the natural one, has regularities that can be discovered by our theories; • The way to determine the truth of statements is by appeal to the neutral fact (empirical epistemology).
3. What is poststr. philosophy? Jean-François Lyotard (1924-1998) “Post-modern is incredulity towards metanarratives” Jacques Derrida Michel Foucault Julia Kristeva (1930-2004) (1926-1984) (born 1941) Concepts of Concepts of Concept of deconstruction and intertextuality discourse, genealog double reading y and power (power-knowledge relationship) Why study popular culture and identities?
3. What is poststr. philosophy? ON DISCOURSE: Michel Foucault (1926-1984) 1. Language is essential to how we make sense of the world; 2. Language is social because we cannot make our thoughts understandable to others without a set of shared codes; 3. Discourse is a linguistic system that orders statements and concepts; 4. The words we use to describe something are not neutral (choice of them has implications); 5. Language is not a neutral transmitter but language produces meanings (things do not have an objective meaning independently of how we constitute them in language); 6. Thus, the assigned meanings depend on discourse.
3. What is poststr. philosophy? ON GENEALOGY: Michel Foucault (1926-1984) 1. Genealogy is a history of the present (it turns what we accept as natural into a question); 2. Two questions are in need while using genealogy: (1) what political practices have formed the present and (2) which alternative understandings have been marginalized and often forgotten; 3. The central message of genealogy is that various regimes of truth merely reflect the ways in which, through history, both power and truth develop together in a mutually sustainable relationship; 4. Thus, we need to gain an understanding of the discursive and material structures that underpin the present.
3. What is poststr. philosophy? ON POWER-KNOWLEDGE RELATIONS: Michel Foucault (1926-1984) 1. Power is „productive‟: it comes about when discourses constitute particular subject positions as the „natural‟ ones => „actors‟ do not exist outside discourse; they are produced through discourse; 2. To establish oneself as having the knowledge to govern a particular issue is an instance of power; 3. Knowledge is integral to power itself (to speak from a position of knowledge is to exercise authority over a given issue); 4. Knowledge is not immune from the workings of power (all power requires knowledge and all knowledge relies on reinforces existing power relations); 5. The concept of biopolitics.
3. What is poststr. philosophy? ON DECONSTRUCTION: 1. To see language as a set of codes means that words (or signs) make sense only in relations to other words; 2. We know something only by comparing it to something it is not; 3. Language as connected signs works for the structural side of post-structuralism; 4. But these sign structures (textual interplay) are unstable because connections between words are never given once and for all; 5. Language is made up by dichotomies, which are not „neutral‟ as one term is superior to another; 6. Deconstruction shows how such dichotomies make something seemingly natural (but in fact are a structured set of values that is artificially constructed). Jacques Derrida (1930-2004)
3. What is poststr. philosophy? ON DOUBLE READING: 1. As deconstruction is a way of showing how all theories and discourses rely on artificial stabilities produced by the use of seemingly objective and natural oppositions, double reading is a way of showing how these stabilizations operate by subjecting the text to two readings; 2. The first reading is a repetition of a dominant reading to show how it achieves coherence; 3. The second reading is to point out the internal tensions within a text that result from the use of seemingly natural stabilizations; 4. The aim is not to come to a „correct; or even „one‟ reading of a text, but intsead to show how there is always more than one reading. Jacques Derrida (1930-2004)
3. What is poststr. philosophy? ON INTERTEXTUALITY: Julia Kristeva (born 1941) 1. Understand the social world as comprised of texts; 2. Texts form an intertext; that is they are connected to texts that came before them; 3. Intertextuality implies that certain things are taken for granted because previous texts have made the point so many times that there is no need to state it again; 4. Working with intertextuality, we should ask ourselves what a given text does not mention either because it is taken for granted or because it is too dangerous to say; 5. As intertextuality points to the way in which texts always „quote‟ past texts, it also holds that individual texts are unique (no text is a complete reproduction of an earlier one). Why study popular culture?