- Georg Sørensen, Georg SørensenUniversity of Aarhus
- Jørgen MøllerJørgen MøllerUniversity of Aarhus
- and Robert JacksonRobert Jacksonformerly at the University of Boston
This chapter examines the liberal tradition in international relations (IR). It first considers the basic liberal assumptions, including a positive view of human nature and the belief that IR can be cooperative rather than conflictual. In their conceptions of international cooperation, liberal theorists emphasize different features of world politics. The chapter explores the ideas associated with four strands of liberal thought, namely: sociological liberalism, interdependence liberalism, institutional liberalism, and republican liberalism. It also discusses the debate between proponents of liberalism and neorealism, and it identifies a general distinction between weak liberal theories that are close to neorealism and strong liberal theories that challenge neorealism. Finally, it reviews the liberal view of world order and the notion that there is a ‘dark’ side of democracy.