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BPSC-134: Introduction to International Relations

BPSC-134: Introduction to International Relations

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2021-22

If you are looking for BPSC-134 IGNOU Solved Assignment solution for the subject Introduction to International Relations, you have come to the right place. BPSC-134 solution on this page applies to 2021-22 session students studying in BAG courses of IGNOU.

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Assignment Code: BPSC-134/ASST/TMA/2021-22

Course Code: BPSC-134

Assignment Name: Introduction To International Relations

Year: 2021-2022

Verification Status: Verified by Professor

Answer all questions in each Assignment.


Assignment - I


Answer the following in about 500 words each. Each question carries 20 marks


1. What do you understand by Critical Perspectives? Elucidate.

Ans) The Critical perspectives in IR gained prominence in 1980s. They embraced a post-Positivist approach that links theory with practice. They challenge the global status quo norms and values and expose the inequalities, injustices and imbalances that mainstream theories ignore. The task is not only to understand IR but change it too. Critical theories are emancipatory theories, and they work towards overthrowing oppression and achieve freedom of the deprived sections. Critical Perspectives are views from the below, looking at IR from the perspective of the deprived and the victims. Main critical perspectives are discussed in subsequent sections.

The Perspectives of Critical Theory

Marxism has been considered as the radical alternative to mainstream theories of Realism and Liberalism. The latter has been considered to cater to the interests of the rich and powerful ruling classes in the imperial states of Europe, whereas Marxism has been the voice of the weaker sections of society. Marxism believes that class struggle is an inevitable part of society. Economy is of primary importance: Marxism explains that society is divided based on economics. There are two classes of ‘haves’ and ‘have nots. Marxism bases itself on materialist conception of history. Karl Marx has laid down five stages in history namely Primitive Communism where everyone is equal and no social division between rich and poor exists. Second is feudalism where the society gets divided into two major social classes namely, landlords and serfs. A class struggle replaces feudalism with capitalism. But in capitalistic mode of production, the division persists between proletariat (working class) and bourgeoisie (capitalist class). Marx calls for a working-class revolution to dethrone the bourgeoisie and overthrow capitalism to build a socialist society. In socialist society, resources will be distributed according to their work and social justice will be established.

Socialism is a transitory stage. Socialism will soon pave way for classless communism where distribution of resources will happen according to everyone’s needs. Karl Marx believed that historical process is carried forward through dialectical process in which internal contradictions happen in each mode of production. V.I. Lenin in Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism underlined that domestic capitalist maintain high levels of profits by exporting surplus capital to overseas markets. This has led to colonization in Asia, Africa and elsewhere and the resultant war among the European capitalist powers to control these colonies. Neo Marxism explains global poverty and inequality. Marxism was revived in 1970s and was called Neo-Marxism or Structural Approach or Neo Radical approach including the World System theory and dependency theory. These frameworks explain that world is divided into three spheres – core, periphery and semi-periphery. Core countries are in the North. Composed of Western capitalist system, they have large accumulation of capital, possess high technological know-how; have high skilled workers and high wages, and greater investment. On the other hand, peripheral countries are the ones located in the South, are poor and mainly agricultural. They have low capital, low technological know-how, have large unskilled workforce which is paid low wages. Subsistence economy and large unemployment are the features of the peripheral economies.

2. What are the major concepts in dependency theory?

Ans) Dependency as the Result of a Historical Process Dependency is the result of a specific historical process. Through centuries of colonialism and domination, the colonial and dominant capitalist powers restructured the socio-economic institutions of the colonies and underdeveloped regions; and integrated the economies of these countries and regions as resource suppliers into the world economy in accordance with the requirement of capitalism. As a result, the colonies and other underdeveloped regions became the suppliers of primary commodities and the markets for the finished goods manufactured by the colonial and dominant capitalist economies.

The major concepts in dependency theory are:

Core, Periphery, Semi-Periphery, and Enclave Economy

The core economies are the developed countries in the global north characterized by advanced technology and industries, supported by powerful state governments, a strong middle class and a large working class. These countries are featured with weak states, a small middle class and many low-skill and agriculture workers. In addition to the core and the periphery, Immanuel Wallerstein sets forth an intermediate position, i.e., the semi-periphery, in terms of its economic condition. The semi-peripheral states are the emerging economies such as India, China, South Africa, and Brazil, characterized by attributes such as modern Approaches industries, cities, and large peasantry. These states are also witnessing a shift from less profitable peripheral-type economic activities to more profitable core type ones.

Dependency Theory as a Critic of Liberal Theories

Liberal thinkers of economic development such as Adam Smith, believed that economic activity should be spontaneous and freed from all forms of regulations. Smith argued that if economic activities were allowed to operate without regulations, then it would operate in accordance with its own rules and bring immense progress in society. In tune with Smith, Jean-Baptiste Say supported laissez-faire and held that free functioning of the capitalist economy without government intervention would naturally bring immense prosperity and full employment in society. David Ricardo’s theory of comparative advantage provided an intellectual capital for free trade.

Critique of Modernization Theory

Modernization theory is a perspective that the less developed countries can achieve development through accelerating economic growth and replacing the traditional values and socio-political and economic systems with that of the developed countries. Modernization theory equates development with mass industrialization, a higher level of economic growth, and the liberal democratic values.

Development of Underdevelopment

‘Development of underdevelopment’ is a concept proposed by Andre Gunder Frank to denote the deteriorating economic condition of the peripheral states as the result of their dependency on the core. According to Frank, underdevelopment is a condition fundamentally different from undeveloped. Undeveloped is a condition of a region, in which its resources are not being utilized. For instance, Asia, Americas, and Africa during the pre-colonial period were undeveloped. Their land and natural resources were not utilized on a scale consistent with their potential.

Neoliberal Globalization Entrenching the Dependency

Most of the dependency theorists hold that the current phase of globalization is ‘neoliberal globalization dominated by transnational corporations (TNCs)’. As a result, the production of manufacturing goods concentrates in the hands of a few TNCs, which makes an oligopoly market at the global level. According to the dependency theorists, this will slow down production and speed up income polarization. Neoliberal globalization also witnesses increasing dependency of the peripheral states on the core and international financial institutions for capital. This drastically cuts down the ‘sovereignty’ of peripheral states in determining and implementing their policies, as they are dictated by the international financial institutions.



Assignment - II


Answer the following questions in about 250 words each. Each question carries 10 marks.


1. Describe the major assumptions of Feminism.

Ans) Feminism rose in 1960s in Europe where women challenged the social, economic and political role given to them and emphasizing that these roles are not natural. It’s the society that has confined women to household work and men to economic and political spheres.

The major assumption of feminism includes: The central themes in feminism are public and private divide; patriarchy; sex and gender; and equality and difference. Feminists explain that there is an artificial and unnatural public and private divide where public is solely confined to men and women take care of private sphere. Politics like political parties and government fall in the realm of public life – dominated by men. Feminists insist that private life such as family and relationships are also a part of political sphere. Betty Freidan remarked that ‘All personal is political’. Feminists ask for breaking down of public and private spheres that will transfer responsibilities to the state and seek provision of generous welfare to women and support programmes. Feminists have attacked patriarchal nature of society that allows the male head of the family to decide for women. Woman cannot have her own choice. Feminists further elaborate on the sex and gender classification. Sex is a biological difference between a male and a female whereas gender is a social construct. It means that the role of a man and woman is defined by the society. And lastly, there is difference; there are feminists who say that women need to celebrate their difference. They emphasize that women need not be ‘male identified’. Rather they can enjoy womanhood and celebrate their different traits of being caring, warm, protective, and childbearing.

2. Explain the concept of Digital Globalisation.

Ans) Digital globalization is a new form of globalization. It brings about relevant changes regarding how business is conducted across borders, the flow of economic benefits, and broadening participation. The growth of data and information related to digital globalization determines that global economic, financial, and social connections increase through digital platforms. Covid-19 is causing a shock to the global economy that is proving to be both faster and more severe than the 2008 global financial crisis. If the current crisis is pushing towards deglobalization, at the same time, Covid-19 represents a challenge for digital globalization and the digital transformation of economies. This research contribution examines the process towards digital globalization that is characterizing the world economy, its impact on businesses, consumers, and governments. It also discusses the challenge that the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic is posing to the globalization and digital transformation of economies.

Globalization is the term used to refer to the integration of goods, services, and culture among the nations of the world. Globalization is not necessarily a new phenomenon; in many ways, we have been experiencing globalization since the days of European colonization. Further advances in telecommunication and transportation technologies accelerated globalization. The advent of the worldwide Internet has made all nations next-door neighbours. The Internet is truly a worldwide phenomenon. As of 2012, the Internet was being used in over 150 countries by a staggering 2.4 billion people worldwide and growing. From its initial beginnings in the United States in the 1970s to the development of the World Wide Web in the 1990s to the social networks and e-commerce of today, the Internet has continued to increase the integration between countries, making globalization a fact of life for citizens all over the world.


3. Discuss the meaning and relevance of the Cold War.

Ans) The Cold War was a period of geopolitical tension between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies, the Western Bloc and the Eastern Bloc, which began following World War II. Historians do not fully agree on its starting and ending points, but the period is generally considered to span the 1947 Truman Doctrine to the 1991 Dissolution of the Soviet Union. The term cold war is used because there was no large-scale fighting directly between the two superpowers, but they each supported major regional conflicts known as proxy wars. The conflict was based around the ideological and geopolitical struggle for global influence by these two superpowers, following their temporary alliance and victory against Nazi Germany in 1945. Aside from the nuclear arsenal development and conventional military deployment, the struggle for dominance was expressed via indirect means such as psychological warfare, propaganda campaigns, espionage, far-reaching embargoes, rivalry at sports events and technological competitions such as the Space Race.

The relevance of Cold War is:

  1. Beyond the easily re-surfacing rhetoric on a ‘new Cold War’ when referring to the Western world’s relationship with Russia, the bipolar conflict shaped the international system in tangible ways that remain highly relevant today.

  2. The concrete legacy of the Cold War rotates around three elements: nuclear weapons and the related arms control and non-proliferation treaties; local conflicts with long-lasting consequences; and international institutions that continue to play a key role today.

  3. Current instability in the world’s hotspots – from the Korean peninsula to Afghanistan – cannot be understood, nor future courses charted, without turning to the Cold War in search for the roots and causes of today’s dilemmas.

  4. The major institutions that govern the ‘West’ – NATO and the EU – are both rooted in the bipolar era, and the sense of community, belonging and shared values that characterise them was forged throughout the decades.



Assignment - III


Write a short note on the following in about 100 words each. Each short note carries 6 marks.


1. Truman Doctrine

Ans) The American President Harry Truman enunciated the so-called “Truman Doctrine” in 1947. It was an American strategy to ‘contain communism’. It denounced the communist system as oppressive and warned against its possible subversive campaigns. Truman’s words were signalling the American intention to resist the spread of communist system anywhere in the world and that was exactly what happened in the following years and decades. In 1947, President Harry S. Truman unveiled his foreign policy in a joint address to the US Congress. He announced that the United States would provide political, military and economic assistance to all democratic nations facing external or internal communist threats. In a first, Truman administration provided US $400 million worth of aid and send American civilian and military personnel and equipment to support the governments of Greece and Turkey which were then facing large scale communist insurgency.

2. Major assumptions of constructivism

Ans) In international relations, constructivism is a social theory that asserts that significant aspects of international relations are shaped by ideational factors (which are historically and socially constructed), not simply material factors. The most important ideational factors are those that are collectively held; these collectively held beliefs construct the interests and identities of actors. The main competitors’ theories to constructivism are variants of realism, liberalism and rational choice that emphasize materialism, and individualism. Unlike materialist and individualist analyses, constructivism does not take the identities and interests of actors as given. Whereas other prominent approaches conceptualize power in material terms, constructivist analyses also see power as the ability to structure and constitute the nature of social relations between actors.


3. Détente

Ans) Diplomatic conscience, however, prevailed over the Cuban Missile Crisis and the crisis had ended with removal of Soviet missiles from Cuba and America promising not to invade the island nation. This peaceful end of the Cuban Missile Crisis probably made the world to realise the potential cost of bipolar military hostilities, and thus began a phase in the Cold War known as “détente”. According to the Oxford Dictionary of Politics, détente refers to the periods of reduced tension in relations between the United States and the Soviet Union and was closely associated with the process of arms control. The main period of détente ran from the Partial Treat Ban Treaty (PTBT) in 1963 to the late 1970s.


4. Perestroika

Ans) News of positive developments in favour of easing the tensions started coming from Cuba, Vietnam, Cambodia, Angola etc. while Germany was united. But it was widely believed that the policies pursued by the Soviet leadership of that time were primarily responsible for the end of the Cold War. The essence of those policies pursued by the Soviet Union was understood by the two highlighted terms of perestroika and glasnost. The meaning of perestroika was understood as economic “restructuring” in the sense of removing economic bottlenecks, inefficiency and raising production and productivity. Glasnost called for some minimal political liberalization in the Soviet political system. It called for openness in public policymaking and scrutiny. But the fact of the matter was that both the policies of perestroika and glasnost could not help the Soviets much, and the Soviet Union had ceased to exist in 1991.

5. Ethnicity

Ans) An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other groups such as a common set of traditions, ancestry, language, history, society, culture, nation, religion, or social treatment within their residing area. Ethnicity is sometimes used interchangeably with the term nation, particularly in cases of ethnic nationalism, and is separate from, but related to the concept of races. Ethnicity can be an inherited status or based on the society within which one lives. Membership of an ethnic group tends to be defined by a shared cultural heritage, ancestry, origin myth, history, homeland, language, or dialect, symbolic systems such as religion, mythology and ritual, cuisine, dressing style, art, or physical appearance. Moreover, ethnic groups are also defined by genetics. Ethnic groups often continue to speak related languages.

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