Week 6: Globalization Are we at the end of history? Learning aims: Understanding what the myth ‘it is the end of history’ implies Understand dialectics and Fukuyama’s conception of history Critically engage with how Fukuyama’s myth makes (neo) liberal expressions of globalization virtually unchallenged Explore the internal contradictions of liberalism Last week: Gender Myth: ‘Gender is a variable’ Key concepts: Gender & ‘placing’ feminism in IR IR’s attempts to place gender are doomed to fail because gender is not a discrete relationship which can be added to IR Globalization Flashcard Key thinkers: Francis Fukuyama Key concepts: Liberalism Dialectic History Myth: It is the end of history The Hegelian dialectic (figure 6.1) History End of history Thesis Synthesis = Antithesis New thesis Synthesis = New thesis Antithesis Antithesis Synthesis = Idea that expresses final, rational form of state and society Hegelian and Marxist understandings of history Hegelian and Marxist understandings of history (table 6.2) Hegel Marx Understanding of history Dialectic Dialectic Nature of dialectic Idealist Materialist What clashes in dialectic Ideologies Economic classes Ideological challengers to liberalism (table 6.3) Fascism Critique of liberalism Why challenge fails Political weakness, materialism, anomie, and lack of community of West = fundamental contradictions in liberal society Destroyed as a living ideology both materially and ideologically by World War II Communism Liberal contradiction between capital and labor/owner and workers cannot be resolved • State commitment to communism in China and the Soviet Union only rhetorical • Bourgeois consumerism embraced internationally • No state offers genuine communist alternative to liberalism Religion Liberal consumerism means core Offers no universalizable political liberalism is hollow, meaningless alternative to liberalism Nationalism Offers no generalizable critique of liberalism. Only critical of some particular expressions of liberalism through specific nonrepresentative governments Because it has no generalizable critique of liberalism, nationalism is not necessarily incompatible with liberal ideology Living in the ‘end of history’ and the internal contradictions of liberalism Aim: Allow students to critically reflect on the myth that we are living in the ‘end of history’ by evaluating liberalism’s internal contradictions • In smaller groups, reflect on the central claim that Fukuyama makes and what it implies (5 min.) – How could Fukuyama ‘know’ that we are at the end of history? – Fukuyama claimed that liberalism’s ‘theoretical truth is absolute and could not be improved upon’. How could he claim this? • Having established Fukuyama’s central claims, CRITICALLY EVALUATE the validity of the claim by thinking about liberalism’s internal contradictions (5 min.) – What are liberalism’s internal contradictions? – Are they unresolvable? – Are identifying these internal contradictions a useful way to challenge liberalism (and Fukuyama’s myth) or is it better to consider the alternatives? The dialectic struggle in The Truman Show (Figure 6.2) History (ideological world) Post-history (de-ideologized world) Christof’s totalitarian governance (thesis) Truman’s growing consciousness of his repression/control by Cristof (antithesis) Truman’s triumph = triumph of liberalism (synthesis) What is typical and deviant in the historical world of the television program “The Truman Show”? (table 6.4) Typical Deviant Truman is unaware of his ideological struggle with Christof because his desires are contained within the utopian world of Seahaven Compelled by unfulfilled desires, Truman becomes ideologically aware and frees himself from Christof and from Seahaven What is typical and deviant in the posthistorical world of the film The Truman Show? (table 6.5) Typical Deviant “The Truman Show” is the space in which its viewers consume history as a history of ideology (by watching the ideological struggle between Truman and Cristof and by owning a piece of that history through the purchase of goods from “The Truman Show” There is no space for viewers to safely project their desires for history and ideology because “The Truman Show” goes off the air permanently The Truman Show and liberalism Aim: To reflect on and explore the relationship between The Truman Show and liberalism • In GROUPS of 4-5 discuss the following questions (7 min.) – What does The Truman Show tell us about liberalism’s relationship between satisfaction and consumption? – If our desires can never be fulfilled in liberalism and our encounter with liberalism’s “empty core” cannot be indefinitely postponed, what does this mean for Fukuyama’s myth ‘it is the end of history’? – What does all this mean for international relations in an ‘era of globalization? • Then reflect on the following questions (7 min.) – How are historical and post-historical spaces related in ‘The Truman Show’? – How does the film illustrate the process of endless substitution, displacement and deferral of desire at the ‘empty core’ of liberalism? Next week: Neomarxism Truth Ontology Film: Memento Desire Is Empire the new world order?