Realism and World Politics
Edited by Ken Booth
Routledge – 2011 – 350 pages
This book contributes to the rethinking of realism through multiple analyses of the keys works of Kenneth Waltz, arguing that a sophisticated appreciation of realism is needed to truly understand world politics and International Relations.
Bringing together a theoretically varied group of leading scholars from both sides of the Atlantic, this book is an outstanding appreciation of the work of realism’s most important theorist since the Second World War, and the persistent themes thrown up by his work over a half-century. The contributors do not engage with Waltz’s work as slavish disciples, but rather as positive critics, recognising its decisive significance in International Relations, while using the process of critical engagement to search for new or renewed understandings of unfolding global situations and new insights into long-standing problems of theory-building.
The book will be of great interest to students of IR, foreign policy, security studies and politics.
@quote: 'The end of the Cold War, we were told, dealt a death blow to Realism in International Relations. Recent work on Carr and Morgenthau - and now this outstanding volume on Waltz brought to us by one of the major figures in the field - proves otherwise. An indispensable work on the single most important post-war figure in the field of International Relations. Essential reading.’ Prof. Mick Cox, London School of Economics
'If you want to understand realism you must read Kenneth Waltz. If you want to understand realism and Kenneth Waltz, you must read this book. Its star-studded cast-list ensures that no angle of the subject is left uncovered'. Prof. Christopher Hill, University of Cambridge
‘Realism and World Politics is a critical but appreciative analysis of Waltz’s thinking from Man, the State, and War through Theory of International Politics and beyond. No thinker since 1979 has so captured the imagination and critical thinking of the field of IR as Waltz. With the advantage of hindsight, the contributors show that there is still much to learn from Waltz, much to build on, and much to ponder. Followers and critics alike will want to read this book.’ Prof. John A. Vasquez, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
'In this fine volume, Kenneth Booth has brought together leading theorists
of international politics to assess the work of Kenneth Waltz. Their
excellent essays clearly demonstrate how profound and enduring Waltz's
influence has been on the study of international politics. I learned much from reading them, and I know others will also.' Prof. Robert J. Art, Brandeis University
'This book offeres a key to the core concerns of the discipline of international relations (IR) today, namely how to understand the system within which the states of the globe interact.' Jan-Erik Lan, University of Freiburg
Preface 1. Realism Redux: Contexts, Concepts, Contests Ken Booth Part 1: Political Ideas in Waltzian Realism 2. Anarchy and Violence Interdependence Daniel Deudney 3. Bringing Realism to American Liberalism: Kenneth Waltz and the Process of Cold War Adjustment Michael Foley 4. Waltz, Realism and Democracy Michael C. Williams Part 2: Challenges to Structural Realist Theory 5. Waltz’s Theory of Theory Ole Wæver 6. Structure? What Structure? Nicholas Onuf 7. ‘Big and important things in IR’: Structural Realism and the Neglect of Changes in Statehood Georg Sørensen 8. Reckless States and Realism John Mearsheimer Part 3: Realist Theories and Human Nature 9. Structural Realism, Classical Realism and Human Nature Chris Brown 10. Human Nature and World Politics: Rethinking ‘Man’ Neta Crawford 11. Women, the State, and War Jean Bethke Elshtain Part 4: War and Security, Causes and Consequences 12. Understanding Man, the State and War Hidemi Suganami 13. Lost in Transition: A Critical Analysis of Power Transition Theory Richard Ned Lebow and Benjamin Valentino 14. Hegemony, Equilibrium and Counterpower: A Synthetic Approach Cornelia Beyer 15. Nuclear Weapons in Waltz’s World: More Trust may be Better Nicholas J. Wheeler Part 5: Continuity and Change in the International and in the World 16. How Hierarchical can International Society be? Ian Clark 17. Waltz and World History: the Paradox of Parsimony Barry Buzan and Richard Little 18. Human Interconnectedness Andrew Linklater Part 6: Conclusion 19. International Politics: The Inconvenient Truth Ken Booth
Ken Booth is Senior Research Associate in the Department of International Politics, Aberystwyth University, UK, where he was formerly E.H. Carr Professor and Head. He is editor of the journal International Relations and author/editor of over 20 books on International Relations and Security Studies. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences.