Political Science: A Critical Analysis of the Neo-Marxism’s Critical Theory

Marx made a clear distinction between the two classes, i.e., the owner of private property who was also a member of a social class ‘bourgeois’, and the ‘citoyen’, a person born free, with equal privileges, and a right to identical partaking in the public field (Andersen & Siim, 2004, p. 103). According to Marx, social conflict was due to class conflict. Critical theory is perceived as cosmopolitan because it emphasis on equality in social status rather than equality based on gender. Critical theory recognizes that conflict is a product of the society but at the same time tries to view the society objectively to not only understand it but also change it (Griffiths, 2011).

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Neo-Marxist approach identifies capitalism as the major driving force of world politics; the elite in an effort to protect their property and class manipulate politics to suit them. The approach further defines people as world citizens (Mediawiley.com, n.d., p. 34).

Cosmopolitan Critique of Liberal Internationalism

Cosmopolitanism has earliest ancestry in western culture (Griffiths, 2011). Cosmopolitan analysis of liberal internationalism has been stimulated by the renaissance of critical theory, a set of Marxist-inspired significant study of international theory and practice. To begin with, cosmopolitan depicts a socio-cultural situation where more people travel at an increased rate, highly increasing their exposure to new traditions, foods and trends. However, this description insinuates that cosmopolitanism is a condition for only those who can afford luxury. Secondly, cosmopolitanism refers to a political philosophy. People who consider ethical values and duties as rooted in precise groups and circumstances form a component of the modern political philosophers, cosmopolitans form the second part of this group. Lastly, cosmopolitans generate a global ethical society of humanity dedicated to universal standards of human rights (Griffiths, 2011).

How ‘Postmodern’ Approaches Differ from those of Critical Theory

Sterling-Folker (2006) observes that post modernism is derived from the study of literature whereas critical theory is a form of neo-Marxist analysis (p. 157). Postmodernism, also referred to as poststructuralism, is a critique meant to reveal the disjuncture of enlightenment modernity. Critical theory is cynical to the liberal claim of universal and morally accurate value structure (Sterling-Folker, 2006, p. 158). Postmodernism challenges that which is taken for granted and reveals how communication enforces importance and significance for a structure that is both socially built and traditionally subjective. According to Sterling-Folker (2006), postmodernism is concerned with enlightening discursive formations to be able to expose the influence and suppression that supports them but it is mainly redesigned to ‘postmodern construction’, which is revealed as a social construction. On the other hand, critical theorists maintain credence in and obligation to Enlightenment standards as a ‘true’ discursive structure that liberalism has co-opted. Additionally, postmodern point of view suggests that all meta-narratives entail the chastising of the person and the suppression of the other. In contrast, critical theory aims to attain widespread liberation, which could have been realized if not for liberalism’s coalition with capitalism, and science, which has effectively wasted and averted this opportunity. Cosmopolitanism is further divided into two categories; i.e., moral cosmopolitanism and institutional cosmopolitanism. In both categories, there are shared beliefs for instance, human beings are the definitive entity of moral concern, human beings are of equal value and people are the definitive unit of concern not only for their fellow citizens but for also religionists (p. 158).

Tensions between the Main Strands of Feminist Theory in IR

Strands of feminism can be divided into two large categories, positivist and post-positivist approach (Lee-Koo, 2007, p 80). Positivist approach include; liberal, radical, Marxist and cultural while post-positivism approaches include, critical, postmodern and most post-colonial feminisms. It is notable that liberal feminism (under positivist), is mainly concerned with the issue of equal rights among men and women. Liberal feminists’ dispute that prejudice founded on a person’s biological sex deprives women of equal rights to pursue their political, economic and social interest. To the liberal feminist, this discrimination is abolished by the elimination of legal and other obstructions that have deprived of women equal privileges and prospects as their male counterparts. The legislations of a country present a better chance for lobbying for, and enforcing, women’s rights. Liberal feminists are concerned mainly with women’s segregation from and discrimination in, areas of public life however, they are not concerned with the nature of that public life, and this view has set a basis of critique for liberal feminism. On the other hand, critical and postmodern feminisms vary from liberal approaches in a number of ways. For instance, they argue that being a woman is a ‘subjective’ experience. Hence, different women suffer from different forms of oppression and have differing needs. Additionally, this approach asserts that gendered constructions encompass not just individuals but also organizations, comprehension and political communication. Post-positivism argues that different women have different problems to deal with and it is up to every woman to choose where she fits in (Lee-Koo, 2007, p 80).


Andersen, J. & Siim, B. (Eds.). (2004). The politics of inclusion and empowerment: gender, class and citizenship. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Griffiths, M. (2011). Rethinking International Relations Theory. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Lee-Koo, K. (2007). An introduction to international relations. Devetak, R, Burke, A. & George, J. (Eds.). NY: Cambridge University Press.

Mediawiley.com (n.d.). International Relations Theories. Retrieved from http://media.wiley.com/product_data/excerpt/23/14051803/1405180323-1.pdf

Sterling-Folker (Ed.). (2006). Making sense of international relations theory. Colorado: Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc.

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