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What's the matter with realism?
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-07, 17:32 authored by Justin Rosenberg
International relations, as an academic discipline, is not known for its strength in the area of theory. It has no immediate equivalent to the rich contrasts of perspective generated in sociology by the legacy of Max Weber, Marx and Durkheim—a lack so felt that Martin Wight once wrote a paper called ‘Why is there no International Theory?’ His own answer was, in part, that there is nothing further to theorize after the discovery of the repetitive mechanisms of the balance of power. This was a sad conclusion for such an acute and creative mind to reach. But it does illustrate a central feature of IR theory. For the balance of power, it can be argued, is the limit of any Realist theory of international relations. And Wight's conclusion was perhaps more an index of the dominance of a Realist orthodoxy than a relection of the inherent properties of ‘the international’.
- Published version
JournalReview of International Studies
PublisherCambridge University Press
Department affiliated with
- International Relations Publications
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