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(p. 59) Part 2 Classical Theories 

(p. 59) Part 2 Classical Theories

Robert Jackson

and Georg Sørensen

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date: 23 September 2020

This chapter examines the realist tradition in international relations (IR). It highlights an important dichotomy in realist thought between classical realism and contemporary realism, including strategic and structural approaches. It also considers both classical and social scientific strands of realist thought. After describing the elements of realism, the chapter discusses the international thought of three outstanding classical realists of the past: Thucydides, Niccolò Machiavelli, and Thomas Hobbes. It then analyses the classical realist thought of Hans J. Morgenthau, along with strategic realism and neorealism. Furthermore, it looks at the recent theoretical debate among realist IR scholars concerning the relevance of the balance of power concept, as well as two critiques of realist doctrine: an International Society critique and a revisionist and emancipatory critique. The chapter concludes with an overview of the prospects for the realist tradition as a research programme in IR.

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