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Cross-systems comparison: Integrating IR theories with living tissue/organism system-model
Posted by: tnosugar (
Date: May 15, 2005 08:01PM

Hi, I stumbled upon this site by chance looking for web references to something that just sprang to my mind. I am an external student of International Relations at LSE (2 days until exam) and I was a student of Biology a while ago (opted for Population Biology), but still have a bundle of exams left (in Serbia and Montenegro).
So, pondering over the issue how I could best present a critical analysis of concepts such as state sovereignty in a globalising world through the variety of parsimonious IR theories, a comparison of the state to a living cell in living tissue (or an organism) came to mind. Accordingly, a number of distinct IR theories could be integrated into a very concrete analogy that explaines the states many different qualities (conditions and functions) and the seamlessness of the state system in an apparently patchwork-like IR system (similar to Gaia theory but not quite).
- Structural accounts (Keneth Waltz) of the state would correspond to the structural quality of the cell (provides space and framework for cell content, while elements that provide structure are at the same time content). Rival theories (Structuralist and Pluralist) over the functional uniformity vs diversity of states could also be depicted nicely by describing cells as functionally uniform in terms of basic organic foundations according to which
they are built and how they function, but also functionally diverse in terms of the roles they fulfill in the body.
Thus, the cell provides a clear example of how to differentiate concepts of structure and process and unify them simultaneously, one of the main issues of contention between social theorists
I could go on forever and give examples of how Wallerstein's world-system theory, and various green theories, defensive and offensive realist theories could fit in (even Gramscianism), but I do have a few chapters more to cover for the exam. :)
Please give me your comments and if there have been similar lines of thought, please make references to relevant literature

Milos Milosavljevic, Belgrade

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