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IR 2.20.docx

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Political Science
Kelly Greenhill

IR 2.20 An Introduction to Realism • Walt’s loose defn of IR: Aprotracted competition between the realist, liberal, and radical traditions or paradigms • Snyder chart of paradigms • paradigm: set of assumptions, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline o NOT a theory, but provides a foundation for one • Realism o paradigm characterized by profound pessimism about the human condition o politics is a struggle for power and security o inability for humans to create harmony and peace o variants: classical realism (Hobbes), structural/neorealism (Waltz), neo-classical realism o also offensive vs. defensive subvariants  offensive realism (Mearsheimer) • states are power maximizers • all GPs seek hegemony  defensive realism (Van Evera, Glaser) • states are security maximizers • some states are status quo, some are revisionist • cooperation is hard, but possible • depends in large part on the real or perceived offensive-defensive balance o different theories with competing hypotheses o six assumptions  the world is anarchical • international system • anarchy: the absence of a central authority that can exercise control over and regulate the behavior of the units in the international system  it is a “self-help” system • stats have no 911 • self-reliance  states are the primary units of analysis • units which are alike in the tasks they must pursue, but not in the capabilities they possess to pursue them  states are rational, unitary actors • they behave strategically and in their self-interest  states’primary goal is survival, which leads them to pursue offensive capabilities  states view the world as a zero-sum game and are more concerned with relative gains than absolute gains o variants of realism (look at slides) o classical realism: inductive theories; driven by philosophical reflection of nature of politics & detailed historical analyses; nature of humanity; states are differentiated; DV is foreign policies of states; relative power & interests (revisionist or status quo) foreign policy (goals beyond survival define their foreign policy) o neorealism: doesn’t matter who’s in charge or nature of politics, states are states; deductive theories; nature of units undifferentiated; international system the fundamental piece; relative power will drive international outcomes o neoclassical realism: (IV IntV DV) distribution of power in the international system(structure) domestic perception of the system and/or domestic incentives (differentiated units) foreign policy decisions; • importance of the system o social systems impose constraints o # of important states and distribution of power among them determine constraints o
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