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Recovering International RelationsThe Promise of Sustainable Critique$
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Daniel Levine

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199916061

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199916061.001.0001

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The Realist Dilemma: Politics and the Limits of Theory

The Realist Dilemma: Politics and the Limits of Theory

(p.115) 3 The Realist Dilemma: Politics and the Limits of Theory
Recovering International Relations

Daniel J. Levine

Oxford University Press

From conceptual discussions of reification to historical case studies: the next three chapters explore how different communities of IR theorists have understood the challenge of sustainable critique, and tried to meet it. Is there a coherent pattern to their failures and successes? In particular, Chapter 3 focuses on the realist tradition: from Morgenthau and Waltz to the ‘neoclassical,’ ‘constructivist’ and ‘critical’ developments of the past decade. Why, despite a distinctly reflective ethos, did Hans Morgenthau fail to develop a body of theory that could resist reification? Why did Waltz’s critics fail to appreciate those moves toward reflexivity that existed in structuralism, and why did those moves themselves prove insufficient? How do those failures continue to affect contemporary realist research, from Randall Schweller to Richard Ned Lebow and Michael C. Williams?

Keywords:   Arendt, Hannah, classical realism, constructivism (IR), critical realism (IR), Lebow, Richard Ned, Morgenthau, Hans J, structuralism, neo-classical realism, neo-realism, Schweller, Randall, Waltz, Kenneth N, Wendt, Alexander, Williams, Michael C

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