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2. Realism and State Behaviour
About this Lecture
In this module, we explore what realism says about state behaviour, focusing in particular on: (i) realist ideas following the end of the Cold War; (ii) the claims of ‘neorealism’; (iii) the idea that states are motivated by fear, rather than ambition; (iv) the claim that security concerns are the key determining factor in state behaviour.
In this course, Professor Adam Humphreys (Reading University) explores the relationship between theory and history in international relations. In the first module, Professor Humphreys introduces us to the key characteristics of two competing theories in international relations: realism and liberalism. In the second module, we explore what realism says about state behaviour, outlining in particular the key claims of ‘neorealism’. We then turn in the third module to explore realist predictions about the post-Cold War world, outlining some valuable key concepts for analysis, such as Hegemonic Stability Theory. In the fourth module, we explore how China’s rise in the international balance of power appears to bear out realist predictions for the post-Cold War period. Finally, in the fifth module, we ask how realism might help us to understand Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, focusing in particular on John Mearshimer’s controversial argument that the West antagonised Russia in its attempts to expand NATO and the EU Eastwards. Overall, this course spotlights not only the parts of global politics that realism gets “right”, but also the ways in which realist explanations may fail to tell the entire story. To really understand the global balance of power, we must also account for the significance of other factors, such as domestic politics and national identity.
Professor Adam Humphreys is an Associate Professor of Politics at Reading University. Prior to joining Reading, he taught and studied at the University of Oxford (2003-2013). His research interests include: international relations theory, the relationship between theory and history in international relations, British foreign and defence policy, strategy, and the ethics of war.
Cite this Lecture
Humphreys, A. (2022, July 10). Global Politics – Theory and History - Realism and State Behaviour [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/global-politics-theory-and-history/realism-and-state-behaviour
Humphreys, A. "Global Politics – Theory and History – Realism and State Behaviour." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 10 Jul 2022, https://massolit.io/courses/global-politics-theory-and-history/realism-and-state-behaviour