01 Jan Which tradition provides a more convincing critique of liberalism Marxism or Classical Realism? ‘ I want you to see the Structure in the PowerPoint, and also the checklist. I want to use
I want someone to write 2000 words about " Which tradition provides a more convincing critique of liberalism – Marxism or Classical Realism? "
I want you to see the Structure in the PowerPoint, and also the checklist.
I want to use the source that I attached as a starting point.
· Have you answered the question? Be specific. Say exactly what your conclusion will be.
· Have you explained how your argument is going to develop in the main part of the essay? What are the main steps you will go through?
· Have you explained exactly what you will say at each of your main steps?
· Is there any ambiguity in the question? Is there too much to cover? If so, explain what you will be focusing on and why.
Defining your terms
· Have you defined any keywords or concepts which might be ambiguous or controversial?
· Avoid using definitions from dictionaries or encyclopaedias for political concepts. We want you to engage with academic debates, so try to find a definition from an article/chapter/book you read.
· You don’t need to define all terms – if they are not the focus of the essay you can often assume that your reader knows what basic terms mean (e.g. ‘politics’ or ‘theory’). You will need to use your judgement.
· In some cases, e.g. where the essay question concerns a key concept, you might do this in the main part of the essay and at length (it might even be the focus of the essay). In other cases, if a shorter explanation is needed, you might do it in the introduction.
· Are these definitions clearly referenced?
· Is there disagreement about these definitions or concepts? If so, acknowledge this and say which definition will you be using.
· Does each paragraph help you support of your answer to the question?
· Are the links between each paragraph clear? Have you provided ‘signposts’ which make clear its role in your argument? Good links and signposts could include:
· ‘Another important question to consider is…’
· ‘The account of [e.g. hegemony] offered above helps us to understand that…’
· ‘While the previous section focused on [e.g. realist understandings of war] further insights can be gained from considering [e.g. the post-colonial perspective] …’
· Does the arrangement of the paragraphs correspond to the plan you outlined in your introduction?
· Is each paragraph roughly the same size? Does each correspond roughly to one topic or sub-topic?
· By the end of the main body have you provided a clear explanation of your position/answer to the question?
· Does your argument include critical analysis of key sources and theories?
· Does your conclusion provide a clear summary of your argument?
· Are equally clear statements of your position contained in your Introduction and the Main Body of the essay? If not, go back and insert them.
· Does your conclusion introduce any new ideas, concepts or examples that are not explained in the main body of the essay? If it does, go back and explain them.
· Are all your sources relevant and of good quality?
· As a starting point, use relevant key readings and link them to the subject of your essay.
· Next, use the module reading list to find further sources.
· Are there any important sources mentioned by the authors you have identified so far? If so, take a look at some of these.
· Find other sources using the Library website or Google Scholar
· News sites etc. might be useful for evidencing a point you are making but should not be used for analysis.
· Have you avoided unsuitable sources?
· Wikipedia is not appropriate for an academic essay!
· Avoid blogs, unless they contain material by reputable researchers (even in this case there will usually be articles you can read instead).
· Never use essay help websites.
· Never use the student essays on E-IR.info. These are clearly identified on the website.
· Are you using a good range of sources?
· Relying too heavily on one or two sources is problematic. There is no magic number, but it is hard to write a good essay with fewer than five good quality sources (and this is a bare minimum).
Referencing and bibliography
· Have you read over and understood the Harvard referencing guide or the referencing information in the PIR Red Book? Check all your references and bibliography entries against one of these guides.
· Have you consulted the source you are referencing yourself? If not, you should also include where you found the information. For example: (Smith 2009: 41; cited in Jones 2015: 59)
· Have you included a correctly formatted bibliography?
Theorising Politics and IR
Reflect on the Article Review
Look back at your article review and at the comments you have received. Identify areas which you need to work on. Think about what went well.
There will be a lot of similarities between the Article Review and the Essay:
You need clear summaries/interpretations of key theories, arguments, and sources;
You need a clear evaluation of key theories, arguments, and sources;
You might need to be selective about what you focus on;
You need to base your writing around a logical structure
But look out for the differences! This time:
You will need to answer the question, which means the scope is broader;
You will need to have conducted more research;
You will need to interpret the question;
You will need to explain in more detail what the essay is going to do;
The essay is longer – structure is even more important
Essay Rubric (Module Handbook, p.8)
|First (70-100)||2:1 (60-69)||2:2 (50-59)||3rd (40-49)||Fail (0-39)|
|Knowledge and understanding of key theories, concepts, and sources||20%||Confident engagement with relevant theories, concepts, and sources which demonstrates an excellent understanding. Identifies links between separate themes. Identifies wide range of appropriate sources.||A good grasp of relevant theories, concepts, and sources covered on the module. Identifies a range of appropriate sources. Evidence of a good level of research.||Reasonable grasp of relevant theories, concepts, and sources covered on the module but lacks some detail and might display minor errors. Engages with key readings but not in depth. Relatively little research.||Insufficient engagement with relevant theories, concepts, and sources covered on the module. Significant errors and gaps in knowledge and understanding. Relies on some poor quality sources.||Poor grasp of relevant theories, concepts, and sources covered on the module. Little to no use of appropriate sources. Significant errors and gaps in knowledge and understanding. Relies heavily on poor quality sources.|
|Depth of critical analysis and evaluation||20%||Identifies main theoretical points and arguments, along with underlying assumptions. Subjects texts and arguments to confident, detailed analysis and evaluation.||Identifies main theoretical points and arguments. Subjects them to careful analysis and evaluation.||Identifies some important theoretical points and arguments but analysis and evaluation lack depth. Likely to be too descriptive.||Neglects some important points or arguments. Analysis or evaluation is largely absent or incoherent. Almost entirely descriptive.||Purely descriptive writing or with no comprehensible attempt at relevant analysis or evaluation.|
|Clarity of argument||20%||Provides a clear answer to the question. Argument is persuasive, and presented clearly and logically, with excellent evidence and justification provided.||Provides a clear answer to the question. Logic of argument is mostly clear, with appropriate evidence and justification provided.||Addresses the question but may lack focus. Argument sometimes weak or unclear. Evidence and justification not always provided.||Tenuous connection to the question. Argument is not supported with sufficient evidence and justification and/or is unclear.||Ignores the question. Argument is either absent, entirely irrelevant, or not discernible.|
|Logic and clarity of structure||20%||Carefully planned. Logical structure allows argument to develop effectively. Writing demonstrates excellent signposting.||Well-planned. Structure is clear and effective. Writing demonstrates good signposting.||Evidence of limited planning. Structure is reasonably clear but not always effective. Writing uses some signposting.||Appears unplanned. Structure is unclear and often lacks logic. Writing uses very little signposting.||Structure is haphazard, illogical, or absent. Writing does not use signposting.|
|Quality of writing (grammar, punctuation) and referencing||20%||Very few errors. Style is clear and engaging. Sentence structure is excellent. Referencing and bibliography are thorough and accurate. Quotes and paraphrased material are well incorporated into the text.||Few errors of grammar or punctuation. Writing is clear and easy to follow. Sentence structure is very good. Referencing and bibliography are thorough and mostly accurate. Quotes and paraphrased material are mostly well incorporated into the text.||Some errors of grammar or punctuation. Writing occasionally lacks clarity. Sentence structure is sometimes incorrect. Referencing and bibliography might not be accurate or sufficiently thorough. Quotes and paraphrased material are not always well incorporated.||Consistent and serious errors of grammar or punctuation. Writing is hard to follow. Referencing and bibliography are mostly inaccurate or inadequate. Quotes and paraphrased material are not well incorporated into the text.||Consistent and serious errors of grammar or punctuation which make the essay hard to understand. Referencing and bibliography are absent, inadequate, and/or inaccurate. If plagiarised material is in evidence, this will be reported to the Student Regulations Team.|
When marking your essay, we are looking for:
KNOWLEDGE & UNDERSTANDING
To what extent have you demonstrated knowledge and understanding of the relevant theories and theorists covered on the module?
Have you shown evidence of extended reading and research using appropriate academic sources?
DEPTH OF CRITICAL ANALYSIS
To what extent have you succeeded in explaining, interpreting, and evaluating the relevant theories, texts, and ideas? Have you done more than simply describe then?
CLARITY OF ARGUMENT
To what extent have you answered the question? Have you presented a coherent argument in support of your answer?
LOGIC AND CLARITY OF STRUCTURE
Has the essay been carefully planned? Are the points it makes logically sequenced? Are these points adequately signposted?
QUALITY OF WRITING AND REFERENCING
Is the writing understandable and clear? Have quotations, ideas, and evidence been properly referenced? Is the essay well-presented?
2. How to get a good mark
Some simple dos and don’ts
DO: follow the Harvard referencing system
Referencing is easy to get right – use the Harvard guide on the University website or PIR Red Book as your ‘instructions’
DON’T: make-up your own referencing system as you go along
DO: start your research by looking at the module reading list, then the library website, Google Scholar, and the sources referenced in key sources
DON’T: Google the question or topic (it shows)
DO: use journal articles; academic books; textbooks
DON’T: use Sparknotes; UK Essays; Encyclopedia Brittanica; E-IR student essays
DO: read back through your work to check for errors
Some key words
Ideology: a set of political beliefs and ideals and/or the dominant ideas of a society which conceal its true nature and/or privilege those in power.
Theory: A set or system of ideas, often produced through research or reflection, formulated with the goal of explaining or understanding a given phenomenon, topic, or value, or goal.
There might be an ideological element to theory, but ‘ideology’ and ‘theory’ are not synonymous.
In your essays you should usually assume that you are talking about theory. If you want to talk about ideology, explain why.
Some theories (liberalism and Marxism) overlap with ideology in the first sense to a significant degree, but you should usually engage with them as theories
Some do not overlap in the same way. E.g. Realism or Constructivism (ever heard of a Realist or Constructivist political party?). These might have an ideological element, but it would be problematic to refer to them as ‘ideologies’ without explaining why.
Tradition: a ‘family’ of theories which might take quite diverse forms. E.g. ‘the Realist tradition’, ‘the Marxist tradition’.
Concept: An abstract idea. E.g. ‘Sovereignty’, ‘power’, or ‘rights’. One of the building blocks of theory. In the social sciences they are often contested – there is debate about their meaning.
To get a high mark, focus on… constructing your argument
Your goal is to answer the question not simply to write about the topic.
You need to tell us exactly what your answer is and to be specific. You need to do this in your introduction and then remind us at key points in the essay.
E.g. NOT ‘This essay will ask whether Realism or Marxism offers a stronger critique of liberalism. It will look at some authors from each tradition before reaching a conclusion’
BUT ‘This essay will argue that Realism offers a stronger critique of liberalism than Marxism. It will demonstrate this, first, by showing that like Liberalism Marxism is a utopian theory. Second, it will show that Realism offers a more flexible approach to politics. To make this argument it will draw on the work of Carr and Morgenthau’
Your argument in support of this answer should form the main body of the essay
Constructing your argument
Interpret the question
The questions are broad and there will be lots of ways of answering them. Your introduction should explain how you are going to do it and why – this is an important skill!
Be selective. You can’t do everything and we don’t expect you to. A good essay sometimes focuses on a particular issue or author.
What’s you answer? Write it down. You need to be clear, but nuance can be good. You might need to adjust your answer later.
What are the main steps you will go through to justify your answer? You will probably need two or three.
Identify these when planning
Make sure they are clearly explained in your introduction
Make sure they are signposted in the main part of the essay
Think about key arguments/theories/ideas which you will need to include
Which ones from the module do you need to write about? Sometimes these will be in the question, sometimes not
How might they support your argument, or even provide the basis for it? Which represent important alternative positions?
At each step, check that your argument is convincing. Why should the reader accept your position?
Have key concepts, theories, or ideas been clearly explained?
Have you provide convincing reasons and evidence?
Have you explained how any examples support your argument? Remember, people with opposing points of view will likely be aware of these but interpret them differently.
What are the alternative positions or possibilities? A convincing argument requires that you have considered alternatives or objections.
This isn’t a comment piece, Twitter post etc. There is no need to pretend to be ‘neutral’ but the standards of justification and evidence are higher. For the most part, assume that opposing views are rational even if they are problematic. Why might a reasonable person believe this thing? How might you persuade them that they are wrong?
It’s good to make the connection to wider issues and to say if you think something is important… but statements like ‘for all of human history…’ or ‘all liberals promote imperialism’ are (a) probably untrue and (b) definitely hard to justify.
Historical context/age of the theory
Historical context is important, but ‘this was written a long time ago’ won’t do!
The age of a theory is not necessarily an indicator of its lack of relevance. Some theorists from the same era might ‘speak’ to us today, others might not
You need to explain why you think ideas from an earlier time aren’t relevant in our own. Be specific – in what ways has the world changed such that the theory no longer applies?
The length of an era can be hard to define. E.g. When does ‘modernity’ start – 1492, 1648, 1789, 1800, 1918, 1945, 1989?
You are encouraged to think about the moral implications of theories but remember that moral outrage is not an argument!
Why should anyone share your concerns? How would you persuade someone who might be sceptical?
Possible reasons you might give to persuade them: the theory is at odds with widely held values; implementing the theory would be self-defeating or have unforeseen consequences; the theory prevents us from thinking about important moral problems/perspectives; the theory reflects the interests of one group at the expense of others
Taking the theory as a whole
Looking at a theory as a system is important but it is possible to agree or disagree with parts of a theory instead of dismissing the whole thing
To get a high mark, focus on… critical analysis
Constructing your argument will mean working with the academic literature. When engaging in-depth with sources you need to:
Interpret – ‘reconstructing’ someone else’s argument/idea/theory in your own words.
E.g. What do the English School mean by ‘international society’?
Aim is to capture the meaning and the nature of the idea or argument – these might not always be obvious
Helps you to emphasise points or contradictions which will be the focus on your argument
Needs to be accurate and coherent – be specific, refer to texts, give page numbers
Evaluate – do I find this argument/idea/theory convincing?
Is it logical?
Is it accurate?
What are its moral/political implications?
E.g. ‘Realism is a problem-solving theory which cannot tell us how we came to be living in a world of states’ (claim about limited accuracy and about political implications)
|Provide a clear and direct answer to the question. Be specific! Summarise the steps of your argument. Be specific! What will you say/do at each point?|
|A series of steps providing arguments and evidence in support of your answer What are your most interesting points? Include them here, not just in your conclusion! Your explanations of key items of evidence Your critical analyses of theories and ideas from the literature Don’t try to include too much – maybe 2-4 key points you need to make Signpost – make sure the reader can see why you are including things and why they have been placed where they are|
|Restate your answer to the question No surprises or ‘plot twists’! Recap the points and remind the reader how they support your answer|
3. The Questions
The final deadline for the Essay is Thursday 6 January at 13:00. Grades and feedback will be available by 27 January.
Answer one of the following questions:
What are the most significant ways in which Western political thought has been shaped by the West’s colonial and imperial past? Your answer should refer to both Political Theory and International Relations theory.
Can cosmopolitanism help us address the main challenges of 21st century world politics? Your answer should compare cosmopolitanism and at least one other theory or school of thought covered on the module.
Which tradition provides a more convincing critique of liberalism – Marxism or Classical Realism?
What are the implications of Robert Cox’s claim that ‘theory is always for someone and for some purpose’? Discuss with reference to feminism and/or critical theory.
What is ‘international society’? What can the idea, or its limitations, tell us about the character of modern international relations? Your answer should refer to the English School of IR theory.
1. What are the most significant ways in which Western political thought has been shaped by the West’s colonial and imperial past? Your answer should refer to both Political Theory and International Relations theory.
Key lectures: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 7, Week 9
Week 4: Charles Mills The Racial Contract
Week 8: ‘The case against Woodrow Wilson’, Merze Tate
Week 10: Neta Crawford
Week 3 – further readings on Cosmopolitanism and Kant (see esp. Mignolo, Kleingeld, Gani, Jahn)
Week 4 – see further readings on ‘Race’ (Toscano, Mills, Buck-Morss)
Week 8 – see Further Readings on ‘Race, Eurocentrism, and the Origins of IR’
Week 9 – see ‘Globalization of International Society’ book
2. Can cosmopolitanism help us address the main challenges of 21st century world politics? Your answer should compare cosmopolitanism and at least one other theory or school of thought covered on the module.
Key Lectures: Week 2, Week 4, Week 8, Week 11
Week 3. Cosmopolitanism
Key readings by Kant and Benhabib
Further readings by Mignolo, Appiah, Nussbaum, Gani
Week 5. Marxism
Key readings Marx ‘On the Jewish question’ and O’Connell
Further readings by Lukes, Kolokowski
Week 9. Realism
Look at EH Carr in Realism Reader
Further reading – See Williams
Week 12.Planet Politics
see ‘The Planet Politics Manifesto’
See also Coole
3. Which tradition provides a more convincing critique of liberalism – Marxism or Classical Realism?
Key lectures: Week 2, Week 4, Week 7 (Liberalism and origins of IR), Week 8
Week 3. Kant ‘Perpetual Peace’
See Jahn on ‘Illiberal Legacies’
Week 5. Marx – critique of liberal rights in ‘On the Jewish Question’
Week 9. Morgenthau. See also Carr’s criticisms in Twenty Years Crisis (excerpts in The Realism Reader)
See Scheuerman on overlaps between Marxism and Classical Realism
4. What are the implications of Robert Cox’s claim that ‘theory is always for someone and for some purpose’? Discuss with reference to feminism and/or critical theory.
Key Lectures: Week 10
Key readings: Week 11 – Tickner on Morgenthau, Schindler on Post-Truth
Further readings: look at Cox’s ‘Social Forces, States, and World Orders’
On CT see especially Ashley, Linklater on ‘Achievements of Critical Theory’.
Feminism see Enloe, Steans, and Youngs
Poststructuralism – see Campbell
5. What is ‘international society’? What can the idea, or its limitations, tell us about the character of modern international relations? Your answer should refer to the English School of IR theory.
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