Politics and Warfare

Get it while it’s hot!  UCSD doesn’t leave its courses online for very long.  And there is a promising new one: Politics and Warfare (website), taught by UCSD Professor Victor Magagna. While the first lecture apparently wasn’t recorded, the second lecture has been posted and in it Magagna introduces a theoretical framework for studying the origins of war.  Some of this material will be familiar to those of you who have listened to Daniel Deudney’s lectures on international politics ( feed ), but Magana offers a fresh take with different insights. According to the catalog, the course will look at “general theories of the origins of warfare; the impact of the state on war in the modern world; and the micro-foundations of combat and compliance in the context of the costs of war and military mobilization.”

In the second lecture, Magagna separates theorists into two main groups.  On one hand are the structuralists (often called realists or neo-realists) who believe that the causes of war and peace are embedded in the structure of the international system.  On the other hand are the institutional lists who believed that a state’s institutions (eg democratic institutions or autocratic institutions) are the most important variables.  Magagna promises to show us how each camp would view the origins of major wars, and how these debates continue to play out in current policy deliberations.

Most current UCSD syllabi are posted on the university’s password protected site, but I found an old syllabus for the course here.


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