History vs. Neo-realism: A Second Look

  • Citation: Elman, Colin, Miriam Fendius Elman, and Paul W. Schroeder. "History vs. Neo-realism: A Second Look." International Security 20.1 (1995): 182-195.
    • Topics:
    • IR Theories
    • Keywords:
    • neo-realist paradigm
    • Paul Schroeder’s article

At a time when international relations theorists are increasingly returning to history to confirm or challenge the neo-realist paradigm,’ Paul Schroeder’s article, “Historical Reality vs. Neo-realist Theory,” is an important addition to the ongoing debate.2 Indeed, in a long and impressive series of scholarly works, Schroeder has consistently contrib- uted to a fruitful dialogue between historians and political scientists.3 In this latest article, Schroeder examines 300 years of international relations and concludes that neo-realism does not provide an adequate explanatory framework for the “general operation and dynamics of the modern European states system.” He therefore advises historians “not to adopt the neo-realist paradigm,” and international relations theorists “not to assume that the facts of international history support one” (p. 148).

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