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International Relations Theory A New Introduction

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International Relations Theory A New Introduction Chapter 4 The Realist Theory Introduction Six features of the realist tradition: Claims a monopoly on understanding ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: International Relations Theory A New Introduction


1
International Relations TheoryA New Introduction
  • Chapter 4
  • The Realist Theory

2
Introduction
  • Six features of the realist tradition
  • Claims a monopoly on understanding reality
  • Strong sense of tragedy/ considerable degree of
    pessimism concerning a more peaceful world
  • Almost exclusive focus on the political
  • Clear-cut distinction between domestic
    international politics almost exclusive priority
    to the latter
  • Theories within realism are all theories of
    conflict
  • Realism tends to cultivate a cyclical view of
    history

3
Genealogy
  • In the course of the 20th century
  • Born raised in Europe reflecting 19th century
    European Realpolitik
  • However, the tradition grew up in US being the
    dominant tradition since the 1950s and until
    recently
  • Three main currents of thought
  • Classical Realism Took off during the late 1930
    maintained prominent position until the 1980s ?
    gradual transfer to Neorealism followed by
    Post-neorealism
  • Recent developments an increasingly pluralist
    tradition

4
Currents of Realist ThoughtClassical Realism
  • Origins E.H. Carr (1939) and H. J. Morgenthaus
    (1946) critique of the liberal tradition
  • Realist publication in the 1930s and 1940s
  • M. Wight and G. Schwarzenberger in Europe
  • R. Niebuhr and F. Schuman in the US
  • Classical realists insisted on describing the
    world as it is, not as it should be, thereby
    drawing on a Rankean conception of
    historiography.
  • Representatives H.J. Morgenthau, I. Claude and
    G. Kennan
  • Relationship between religious conviction and
    classical realists, cf. Wight, Morgenthau and
    Niebuhr

5
Currents of Realist ThoughtNeorealism
  • Point of departure in classical realism, yet
    clear discontinuities
  • Writings of K. Waltz (1979, 1996)
  • Neorealists characterise actors a priori
  • Explanation of different kinds of state behaviour
    ? balancing, bandwagoning seeking relative and
    absolute gains
  • Agent-oriented ontology behaviour explained by
    systemic structural factors

6
Currents of Realist ThoughtPost-neorealism
  • Point of departure in systemic characteristics
    yet aiming at explaining foreign policy ?
    neorealists
  • Emphasis on
  • Encounter between theoretically deducted state
    strategies actual foreign policies of states
  • Offensive ? Defensive realism
    J. Mearsheimer ?
    M. Mastanduno
  • S. Walt (1987) Concept of Balance of threat

7
Kinds of Realist Theory
  • Morgenthau (1954) Politics Among Nations six
    principles of political realism (seemingly
    positivist)
  • Constructivist realism, see Nau (2002) and Barkin
    (2003)
  • Realists explicit on explanatory theory, though
    implicit presence of interpretative and normative
    theory

8
Main Variants of Theories
  • Balance of Power Theory
  • K. Waltz, H. J. Morgenthau, J. Herz
  • Point of departure Anarchy, self-help security
    dilemma
  • Alliance Theory
  • Different takes from classical realists
    neorealists on alliances, see G. Liska (classical
    realists) and G. Snyder (neorealists)
  • Power Transition Theory
  • A.F.K. Organski (1958)
  • International system seen as hierarchical, not
    anarchical

9
Main Intra-Tradition Debates
  • Debates have mainly been among American realists
    as
  • contemporary realism is exceptionally strong in
    the US
  • Between classical realists neorealists
  • K. Waltz (1975, 1979, 1990)
  • Within the broad confines of structural
    neorealism
  • Modifications by B. Buzan (1993), G. Snyder
    (1997)
  • Between neorealists post-neorealists
  • S. Walt (1987), J. Grieco (1990)
  • Relationship between realism economics

10
Research Agenda
  • Studies of world politics balance of power
    politics, research on polarity change balancing
    or bandwagoning strategies
  • Three main challenges for realist theorists
  • Produce more specific theories demonstrate
    value of these theories by theory-informed
    empirical studies
  • Broaden the agenda ? produce different kinds of
    theory cultivate different meta-theoretical
    commitments
  • Apply their theories to range of different
    counter-intuitive actors, processes and
    structures

11
Conclusion
  • Theorizing with realist tradition remains highly
    relevant for understanding contemporary
    international politics
  • Aspects of power, conflict, war, interests
    security are likely to stay in world politics
  • States continue to be among main actors of
    international system
  • United States, being the prime bastion of realism
    might loose its position with the emergence of
    new major global players (China, India, the EU)
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