Human Motivations and Political Action: Modeling Globalization for Trans-Disciplinary Conversation in International Studies

Prof. Michael Allen
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There are limits to the philosophical assumptions about human motivation, that have informed political analysis in Realism, and more recently, in the theories within International Studies that have attempted to take us beyond Realism. Still, the spirit of Realism pervades the main competing paradigms in International Political Economy, so that we have 'realisms' of markets, classes, individuals and genders, besides the realism of states, assumed in Realism. The neo-Liberal globalization of markets, production systems and their governing institutions, and the associated strategic and military activities of the sponsoring states, have stimulated other globalizations in response. These embrace agents whose actions are not easily explained in terms of the pursuit of Order, Wealth, Freedom and Justice, as done in different mixes, in Realism, neo-Liberal and Radical theories. I explore what other motivations might help us understand political action, and suggest a model that could organize the analysis of the combined impact of conscious and structural factors in social change globally. It could facilitate conversation across disciplines about the dynamics, not only of production and trade, or of competing authorities, but also of language, music, films and popular and religious discourses.

Keywords: Non-Material Motivation, Forms of Consciousness, Globalisation
Stream: Globalisation
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Human Motivations and Political Action

Prof. Michael Allen

Associate Professor, Political Science, Director, Center of International Studies, Department of Political Science; Africana Studies; Center for International Studies, Bryn Mawr College

Michael Allen teaches International Relations in the Department of Political Science at Bryn Mawr College. His fields of special interest are International Political Economy and International Law. His early work focused upon structural change and ideological transformation in global industries with special reference to the aluminium industry. A specific question was how change is mediated through a range of forms of political encounter, including bargaining. Later work has applied that synthesis, in more evolved form, to a critique of globalization, and appears as journal articles and chapters in edited volumes. Current work examines the impact of globalization upon the transition to democracy in South Africa and the implications for the subsequent quality of that democracy. Allen has also been involved in Human Rights teaching and research in South Africa, in the International Human Rights Exchange. His critique of Human Rights discourse is nested within that of globalization, and he has written on the governance and International legal implications of the compartmentalization of Human Rights, market, ecological and security discourses. He holds memberships in the International Studies Association and British International Studies Association. Allen has served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Jamaica, and collaborates in Edu-Tourism, a transnational organization dedicated to bottom-up development in the Global South. He is married and has two children.

Ref: H05P0468