Political Thought and International Relations: Variations on a Realist Theme

Paperback | March 12, 2010

EditorDuncan Bell

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Political realism dominated the study of international relations during the Cold War. Since then, however, its fortunes have been mixed: pushed onto the backfoot during 1990s, it has in recent years retuned to the centre of scholarly debate in international relations. Yet despite itssignificance in international relations theory, realism plays little role in contemporary international political theory. It is often associated with a form of crude realpolitik that ignores the role of ethical considerations in political life. This book explores an alternative understanding ofrealism. The contributors view realism chiefly as a diverse and complex mode of political and ethical theorising rather than either a value-neutral branch of social science or the unreflective defence of the national interest. They analyse a variety of historical and philosophical themes, probingthe potential and the pathologies of realist thought.A number of the chapters offer critical interpretations of key figures in the canon of twentieth century realism, including Hans Morgenthau, E. H. Carr, and Reinhold Niebuhr. Others seek to widen the lens through which realism is usually viewed, exploring the writings of Martin Heidegger, HannahArendt, and Leo Strauss. Finally, a number of the contributors engage with general issues in political theory, including the meaning and value of pessimism, the relationship between power and ethics, the role of normative political theory, and what might constitute political 'reality.' Straddlinginternational relations and political theory, this book makes a significant contribution to both fields.

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Political realism dominated the study of international relations during the Cold War. Since then, however, its fortunes have been mixed: pushed onto the backfoot during 1990s, it has in recent years retuned to the centre of scholarly debate in international relations. Yet despite itssignificance in international relations theory, reali...

Duncan Bell is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in the Centre of International Studies, University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of Christ's College. His research interests span political theory, international relations theory, and the history of political thought.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.01 inPublished:March 12, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199556288

ISBN - 13:9780199556281

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Table of Contents

1. Duncan Bell: Introduction: Under an Empty Sky2. Richard Ned Lebow: The Ancient Greeks and Modern Realism: Ethics, Persuasion, and Power3. William E. Scheuerman: A Theoretical Missed Opportunity? Hans J. Morgenthau as Critical Realist4. Stephen P. Turner: Hans J. Morgenthau and the Legacy of Max Weber5. Sean Molloy: E. H. Carr versus Hans J. Morgenthau: Conflicting Conceptions of Ethics in International Relations6. Patricia Owens: The Ethic of Reality in Hannah Arendt7. Roger Spegele: Towards a More Reflective Political Realism8. N. J. Rengger: Realism's 'Hidden Dialogue': Leo Strauss, War and Politics9. Joshua Foa Dienstag: Pessimistic Realism and Realistic Pessimism10. Vibeke Schou Tjalve: Realism and the Politics of (Dis)Enchantment11. Ze'ev Emmerich: Political Theory and the Realistic Spirit12. Andrea Sangiovanni: Normative Political Theory: A Flight from Reality?