Cave! Hic Dragones: A Critique of Regime Analysis

  • Citation: Strange, Susan. "Cave! hic dragones: a critique of regime analysis.” International Organization 36.02 (1982): 479-496.
    • Topics:
    • IR Theories
    • Keywords:
    • regimes
    • international cooperation
    • conflict
    • state-centric paradigm

This article questions the usefulness of the concept of regimes on the grounds that it is a fad; ambiguous and imprecise; value-biased towards order rather than change or equity; essentially static in its interpretation of the kaleidoscopic reality of international cooperation and conflict; and, finally, rooted in a limiting, state-centric paradigm. Each of these objections represents a dragon that unwary young scholars should be warned to avoid–or at least to treat with caution. On the grounds that those who look for a tidy general theory encompassing all the variety of forces shaping world politics are chasing a will o’ the wisp, the article suggests as an alternative that we should pay attention to the overlapping bargaining processes, economic and political, domestic as well as international, by which the outcomes of the interaction of states, of authorities with markets and their operators, and of political institutions and economic enterprises, determine between them the “who-gets-what” of the international political economy.

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