This paper focuses on the relevance of spatial variables (i.e. geographical variables) within the analytical framework of IR realism. Reviewing in detail both classic and present-day literature, light is shed on the fact that, with the sole (and substantial) exception represented by Waltz’s theory, spatial variables have consistently played a pivotal role amongst realists’ analytical instruments. It will be firstly shown that the IR realist school, from its ‘founding fathers’ (Morgenthau, Aron, Wolfers) to some of its most influential contemporary exponents (Walt and Mearsheimer) has devoted remarkable attention to spatial variables. Secondly, in looking for the reasons behind the dismissal of space in Waltz’s theory, four reasons will be identified, that are both endogenous (linked to the theoretical approach adopted by Waltz) and exogenous (linked to the influences exercised by the intellectual milieu, and by the developments of the international political context). In the last section of the paper two significant empirical puzzles which represent distinct peculiarities of the international relations in the post-Cold War era – the longevity of the unipolar structure and the continuity of the U.S. global defense posture – are examined with the aim to show whether and how it is possible to understand and overcome some of structural realism’s explanatory shortcomings by incorporating within its theoretical framework exactly those spatial variables that it had widely overlooked.

Positioning in the power hierarchy and positioning in the space : Spatial variables as fundamental analytical instruments in the realist toolbox for the post-Cold War Era / A. Mascia. ((Intervento presentato al 2. convegno ECPR Graduate Conference : European consortium for political research tenutosi a Barcelona nel 2008.

Positioning in the power hierarchy and positioning in the space : Spatial variables as fundamental analytical instruments in the realist toolbox for the post-Cold War Era

A. Mascia
Primo
2008-08-26

Abstract

This paper focuses on the relevance of spatial variables (i.e. geographical variables) within the analytical framework of IR realism. Reviewing in detail both classic and present-day literature, light is shed on the fact that, with the sole (and substantial) exception represented by Waltz’s theory, spatial variables have consistently played a pivotal role amongst realists’ analytical instruments. It will be firstly shown that the IR realist school, from its ‘founding fathers’ (Morgenthau, Aron, Wolfers) to some of its most influential contemporary exponents (Walt and Mearsheimer) has devoted remarkable attention to spatial variables. Secondly, in looking for the reasons behind the dismissal of space in Waltz’s theory, four reasons will be identified, that are both endogenous (linked to the theoretical approach adopted by Waltz) and exogenous (linked to the influences exercised by the intellectual milieu, and by the developments of the international political context). In the last section of the paper two significant empirical puzzles which represent distinct peculiarities of the international relations in the post-Cold War era – the longevity of the unipolar structure and the continuity of the U.S. global defense posture – are examined with the aim to show whether and how it is possible to understand and overcome some of structural realism’s explanatory shortcomings by incorporating within its theoretical framework exactly those spatial variables that it had widely overlooked.
balance of power ; spatial variables ; realism ; structural modifiers ; U.S. defense posture
ECPR
Positioning in the power hierarchy and positioning in the space : Spatial variables as fundamental analytical instruments in the realist toolbox for the post-Cold War Era / A. Mascia. ((Intervento presentato al 2. convegno ECPR Graduate Conference : European consortium for political research tenutosi a Barcelona nel 2008.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/58628
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