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"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Tamilnation  > Tamilnation Library  > Politics > In Search of Theory: A New Paradigm for Global Politics - R.W.Mansbach and J.A.Vasquez


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From a note by Peter Willetts in his Introduction to International Law of Guerrilla Warfare:

"...The most ambitious academic work that has so far been produced within the Global Politics approach is the book in Search of Theory: A New Paradigm for Global Politics. In it, Mansbach and Vasquez outline the four basic assumptions for an issue-based paradigm: 

firstly, the political actors may in principle be any individual or group. They are not identified by the possession of 'sovereignty', but by investigation of who actually is active. The most important actors will vary from issue to issue and will not always be 'the big powers'

Secondly, politics is fundamentally the same between or within groups. A single theory of politics is possibly covering both politics within countries and global politics. 

Thirdly, 'politics can be defined as the authoritative allocation of values through the resolution of issues'. Politics, seen as contention over the specific stakes which make up an issue, cannot be reduced to a struggle for power. 

Fourthly, the processes of interaction will vary from issue to issue and will be dependent upon the characteristics of the issue, the relations among the relevant actors and the nature of the decision making institutions.

.... (I) would go further than Mansbach and Vasquez and would explicitly assert that the concept of 'power' is meaningless. Actors may possess a variety of resources: the means for physical coercion, economic resources, an efficient bureaucracy, accurate information or status, plus legal authority or moral legitimacy for their proposals

Then structured interactions within the global system will affect who achieves the outcomes which they desire. To collapse resources, interactions and influence over outcomes into the one concept of 'power' and to say that 'power' is a fixed attribute of an actor, not varying from issue to issue, is a grotesque simplification.

...in this issue-area (of the Humanitarian Law of Armed Conflict), status and moral legitimacy were the main resources, with clarity of argument being the most important form of interaction in creating the details of the new law..."



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