Neoclassical Realism in the Theory of International Relations
Professor, Department of Theory and History of International Relations, Saint Petersburg State University, firstname.lastname@example.org
elibrary_id: 202300 | ORCID: 0000-0002-7257-6848 | RESEARCHER_ID: H-5469-2013
Supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, grant No. 20-514-22001 “Building an Optimal Model of a Human Security System in the Arctic Zone of Russian Federation”.
The article studies neoclassical realism – one of the most popular trends in the evolution of the theory of international relations. Predominantly found in Western scientific work, it is gaining popularity in Russian studies. However, the conceptual differences, methodology, and status of neoclassical realism amongst other theories remain insufficiently studied. Neoclassical realism is not a complete theory, but a research approach that progresses the realist tradition of IR. Representatives of this approach combine the elements of K. Waltz’s structural realism with empirical research in the spirit of H. Morgenthau’s political realism; at the same time, they refuse to consolidate a unitary understanding of the state, paying significant attention to the subjective aspects of policy-making and to the influence the state’s domestic political attributes have on its foreign policy. This gives reason to consider neoclassic realism as an eclectic theory. However, the more convincing view is that neoclassical realism is an original development of neorealism, complementing Waltz’s theory with an elementary level of analysis of international politics. In a substantial sense, neoclassical realism clarifies such concepts as anarchy, structural influence, the balance of power, and balancing policy, amongst others. The “neoclassics” proposed a model of state foreign policy, which describes the interaction of a set of systemic and elemental factors (domestic political attributes of the state) that affect the state’s foreign policy. In methodology, this approach is distinguished by the desire to operationalize concepts and to develop a priori hypotheses for subsequent verification, using concrete historical research. The heuristic potential of neoclassical realism is associated, first of all, with a successful complement to Waltz’s structural realism, which allows the conditions under which great powers and small states deviate from balancing policies to be studied. As it offers a look at international politics through the prism of the state as an element of the system, neoclassical realism is especially relevant in the era of global rollbacks of state-centric politics.
Acharya A. 2018. Constructing Global Order: Agency and Change in World Politics. NY: Cambridge University Press. 215 p.
Ayoob M. 1984. Security in the Third World: The Worn about to Turn. – International Affairs. Vol. 60. No. 1. P. 41-51.
Becker M., Cohen M., Kushi S., McManus I. 2015. Reviving Russian Empire: the Crimean Intervention through a Neoclassical Realist Lens. – European Security. Vol. 25. No. 1. P. 1-22. https://doi.org/10.1080/09662839.2015.1084290
Carr E. 1946. The Twenty Years’ Crisis 1919-1939. An Introduction to the Study of International Relations. London: MacMillan. 239 p.
Dueck C. 2005. Realism, Culture and Grand Strategy: Explaining America’s Peculiar Path to World Power. – Security Studies. Vol. 14. No. 2. P. 195-231. https://doi.org/10.1080/09636410500232891
Escude C. 1998. An Introduction to Peripheral Realism and Its Implications for the Interstate System: Argentinian the Condor II Missile Project. – International Relations Theory and the Third world. Ed. by S. Neuman. NY: St. Martin’s Press. P. 55-76.
Gilpin R. 1981. War and Change in World Politics. NY: Cambridge University Press. 272 p.
Kennedy P. 1987. The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500 to 2000. NY: Random House. 677 p.
Leffler M. 1992. A Preponderance of Power: National Security, the Truman Administration, and the Cold War. Stanford: Stanford University Press. 689 p.
Lobell S., Jesse N., Williams N. 2015. Why Do Secondary States Choose to Support, Follow or Challenge? – International Politics. Vol. 52. No. 2. P. 146-162. https://doi.org/10.1057/ip.2014.50
Marsh K. 2014. “Leading from Behind”: Neoclassical Realism and Operation Odyssey Dawn. – Defense & Security Analysis. Vol. 30. No. 2. P. 120-132. https://doi.org/10.1080/14751798.2014.894295
Modelski G., Thompson W. 1996. Leading Sectors and World Powers: the Co-Evolution of Global Economics and Politics. Columbia: University of south California Press. 263 p.
Morgenthau H. 1948. Politics among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace. NY: A.A. Knopf. 489 p.
Neoclassical Realism, the State, and Foreign Policy. 2009. Ed. by S. Lobell, N. Ripsman, J. Taliaferro. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511811869.001
Purdon M. 2017. Neoclassical Realism and International Climate Change Politics: Moral Imperative and Political Constraint in International Climate Finance. – Journal of International Relations and Development. Vol. 20. No. 2. P. 263-300. https://doi.org/10.1057/jird.2013.5
Rathbum B. 2008. A Rose by Any Other Name: Neoclassical Realism as the Logical and Necessary Extension of Structural Realism. – Security Studies. Vol. 17. No. 2. P. 294-321. https://doi.org/10.1080/09636410802098917
Ripsman N., Taliaferro J., Lobell S. 2016. Neoclassical Realist Theory of International Politics. NY: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199899234.003.0002
Rose G. 1998. Neoclassical Realism and Theories of Foreign Policy. – World Politics. Vol. 51. No. 1. P. 144-172. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0043887100007814
Schweller R. 2014. Maxwell’s Demon and the Golden Apple: Global discourd in the New Millenium. Baltimore: John Hopkins University. XIV, 196 p.
Schweller R. 2004. Unanswered Threats: A Neoclassical Realist Theory of Underbalancing. – International Security. Vol. 29. No. 2. P. 159-201. https://doi.org/10.1162/0162288042879913
Sterling-Folker J. 1997. Realist Environment, Liberal Process, and Domestic-Level Variables. – International Studies Quarterly. Vol. 41. No. 1. P. 1-25. https://doi.org/10.1111/0020-8833.00031
Taliaferro J. 2019. Defending Frenemies: Alliances, Politics, and Nuclear Nonprolifiration in US Foreign Policy. New York: Oxford University press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780190939304.001.0001
Waltz K. 1979. Theory of International Politics. Readings: Addison-Wesley. 250 p.
Waltz K. 1993. The Emerging Structure of International Politics. – International Security. Vol. 18. No. 2. P. 44-79.
Wohlforth W. 1993. The Elusive Balance: Power and Perceptions during the Cold War. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. 317 p.
Zakaria F. 1998. From Wealth to Power: The Unusual Origins of Americas World Role. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 216 p.
Borisov D. 2016. Codification of Neoclassic Realism. – International Trends. Vol.14. No. 3. P. 167-169. (In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.17994/it.2016.14.3.46.14
Chikharev I., Kosorukov A. 2010. Neoclassic Realism: Toward Problem of Relations Between Global and State-Level Variables in Development of Foreign Policy Course. – Moscow University Bulletin. Series 12. Political Science. No. 1. P. 50-66. (In Russ.)
Freud S. 2018. Vorlesungen zur Einfuhrung in die Psychoanalyse. (Russ. ed.: Freud S. Vvedenie v psikhoanaliz. Moscow: AST-Press. 608 p.)
Konyshev V. 2004. Amerikanskii neorealizm o prirode voiny: ehvolyutsiya politicheskoi teorii [American Neorealism about Nature of War]. Saint Petersburg: Nauka. (In Russ.)
Konyshev V., Sergunin A. 2013. International Relations Theory: on the Threshold of New “Great Debates”? – Polis. Political Studies. No. 2. P. 66-78. (In Russ.) URL: https://www.politstudies.ru/en/article/4687 (accessed 22.05.2020).
Levi-Strauss C. 2001. Anthropologie structurale. (Russ. ed.: Levi-Strauss C. Strukturnaya antropologiya. Мoscow: EKSMO-Press. 512 p.)
Marx K. 2017. Das Kapital. Kritik der politischen Okonomie. (Russ. ed.: Marx K. Kapital. Kritika politicheskoi ehkonomii. Vol. 1. Мoscow: EKSMO-Press. 1200 p.)
Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya i mirovaya politika [International Relations and World Politics]. 2014. Ed. by P.A. Tsygankov. Moscow: ROSSPEN. 639 p. (In Russ.)
Romanova Т. 2012. About Neoclassic Realism and Modern Russia – Russia in Global Affairs. Vol. 10. No. 3. P. 8-21. (In Russ.)
Saussure F. de. 1999. Cours de linguistique Generale. (Russ. ed.: Saussure F. de. Kurs obshchei lingvistiki. Ekaterinburg: Ural University Press. 432 p.)
Streltsov D., Lukin A. 2017. Russian-Japanese rapprochement Through the Lens of IR Theory. Neoclassic Realism, Constructivism, and Two-Level Games. – International Trends. Vol. 15. No. 2. P.44-63. (In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.17994/it.2017.15.2.49.3
Wohlforth W. 2015. Russia-Western Relations Lack of Realist World-Vision from Both Sides. – International Tends. Vol. 13. No. 4. P. 153-165. (In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.17994/it.2015.13.4.43.11
Konyshev V.N., Sergunin A.A.,
International relations theory: on the threshold of new «Great Debates»?. – Polis. Political Studies. 2013. No2
Alekseyeva T.A., Lebedeva M.M.,
What Is Happening to the Theory of International Relations. – Polis. Political Studies. 2016. No1
Policy of sanctions in a changing world: theoretical reflection. – Polis. Political Studies. 2023. No2
Methodological Aspects in the Study of Foreign Policy and Global Role of the European Union. – Polis. Political Studies. 2017. No6
Randall Collins’ theories of historical dynamics and context of russian politics. – Polis. Political Studies. 2012. No6