Degree Name

Master of Arts


This thesis is an investigation into the dominant ways of coming to understand conflict in the new millenniwn. Further, this thesis penetrates deeper into social theory to question the dominant methodology and the common understanding of what constitutes reality and the methods whereby Realism and Neorealism have retained a monopoly of truth claims despite prolific criticism. This thesis seeks, by using recent postmodern literature in IR, to reframe both reality as conceptualised and the methods and questions that should be directed towards understanding and creating reality. In reframing and reconceptualising reality it becomes possible to have an alternative and equally realistic understanding of the causes of conflict.

Therefore, the point of this thesis is not so much to provide a whole ream of conclusive answers to contemporary issues, so much as to offer more productive avenues of research in the hope that the determinism and pessimism of mainstream theorising in IR might be eschewed indefinitely.

This thesis also seeks to understand why mainstream theorists have come to rely upon their own theory of reality for so long and how it became engrained as the only realistic theory of IR.

I argue that the first part of the answer resides in a modern preoccupation with shedding responsibility through objectivity, the second part concerns shedding history in the name of science, and thirdly of presupposing reality s intransigence to further an understanding of reality which has consequently served to entrench its imperfections. Each of these three elements can be seen in the implicit normative concerns of Realism, Neorealism, Neoclassical Political Economy, Enlightenment philosophy and the practice that these ideologies have spawned. Their obviously glaring irregularities bloat in daily current affairs where people die as a result of the modem deterministic doctrines of power politics and/or economic rationalism, most obviously in the form of mass consumption producing mass waste and global warming; the first a cause of modem political economy, the second its effect. Moreover, concerted international efforts to remedy this pollution get bogged down in the discourse of state sovereignty, of economic (ir)rationalism, and a blind faith m science; the very (circular) logic that precipitated the initial catastrophes.

This thesis has finished up as a critique of the presumed sovereign impotence of the state . Moreover, it is a critique of the presumed intransigent but largely illusory aspect of the state, which comes under the heading of metaphysics , or so I shall argue. It is a critique of the scientific philosophy that elevates reality to the deterministic level of factuality ; this thesis is also a critique of the broader modem discourse within which this image of reality fits. Finally, this thesis is an attempt to relocate people -for better or for worse -in the making and shaping of our social, cultural, economic, and political environment, to achieve a deeper understanding of the causes of our global calamities and of the source of a possible cure.

I would like to propose that nothing, not even change, is beyond concerted effort. This thesis seeks to demonstrate that the primary cause of apathy and disaster are human beings, but we are also the only remedy.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.