through intervening variables at the unit level. This is why they are neoclassical.1 . 1 Gideon Rose, ‘Neoclassical Realism and Theories of Foreign Policy’, World. The works of these scholars have been termed “neoclassical realism” by Gideon Rose in his review article Neoclassical Realism and. Neoclassical realism is often criticized by non-realists for being 41 Gideon Rose, “Neoclassical Realism and Theories of Foreign Policy,” World Politics

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For more than half a century, the realist tradition has been the leading theory in the international political landscape, tracing its origins back to Athenian era. Since then, realism has not only survived assaults from other paradigms, but also showed divisive trend Snyder, Various international relations theorists have attempted to construct a new variant of realism, each using new terminology or adjectives to announce these different branches, while other scholars Brooks,RoseSnyder, have constructed a typology of realism.

In other words, realism has flourished and gave birth to several new strands. Thus, domestic-level variables rosd usually been neglected or consigned to a less important explanatory position in this IR theory literature.

A growing number of scholars Schweller, ; Zakaria, ; Wohlforth,although not completely rejecting the systemic explanations, have stressed the importance of combining systemic and unit-level variables. As Fareed Zakaria It will have four sections. The first section will summarise Neorealism as a theory. The second will outline the transition from Neorealism to neoclassical realism. The third section is an analysis of neoclassical realism. The fourth and the last section of this paper will conclude that neoclassicwl realism is a more or less new version of realism.

Realists such as Morgenthau believed that skilled statesmen could maintain the balance of power.

Neoclassical Realism – Political Science – Oxford Bibliographies

Waltz found a recurring pattern of behaviour for states beoclassical pursue the same policies in order to guarantee their security. So Neorealism, using its key variable relative distribution of powerexplain state behaviour and also the systemic outcomes. Gudeon some time, the most important paradigms of international politics were all system level theories. This situation has, in a sense, caused a lot of neocclassical Schweller, ; Zakaria, ; Wohlforth, to oppose to the disconnection between system or structure and state.


These scholars are left wanting by the frugal account of Neorealism, so in order to get superior accuracy, neoclassical realists incorporated domestic-level variables into their explication of international politics. Thus, neoclassical realists lay open the black-box of the state Baylis et al, The intention of neoclassical realists is not to create a general theory with regard to international politics.

Rather, their interest is to explain the foreign policy behaviour of a specific state. The central tenets of neoclassical realism, according to Baylis et al, For Roseforeign policy theories have been ignored by realists.

However, they see the system, like traditional realists, as a dependent variable, contrary to neorealists who see the system as an independent variable. Neoclassical realists argue the system cannot be directly influenced. Any effects to be exerted on the system have to come from an intervening factor Taliaferro, ; Wohlforth, Domestic-level variables are the central piece of the chain.

One of these variables is the statesmen or elite perception of power distribution. Neoclassical realists such as Zakaria This argument can be traced back to classical realism. Wohlforth illustrates the importance of perception with the example of the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. This prediction, Schweller argues, do not take into account the interests and motivations of states, which are important intervening variables.

Another domestic variable is the restriction of national power. Domestic variables have created a lot of controversies among scholars neoclassidal as Legro and Moravcsikwho accused neoclassical realists for allegedly rejecting the main assumptions of Neorealism.

They go on to argue that neoclassical realists even include liberal elements in order to save realism. This is clearly a misreading of the neoclassical realist research. Realism has been the leading theory of international politics for a long time.

It has flourished and gave birth to several new strands. One of which is neoclassical realism, which has neoclassicsl assessed in this paper. This article concludes that neoclassical realism is more or less a variant of realism. They are more interested in explaining the neoflassical policy behaviour of a specific state at any one time and any situation.


The central tenets of neoclassical realism are that foreign policy is the result of international structure, domestic influences, and also of complex relations between the two. On this basis, neoclassical realists attempt to solve a problem in international relations research by building a bridge between the international system and the state.

It is a difficult process to create a multilevel theory, but neoclassical realism has the potential to overcome these problems. Eds The Globalization of world politics.

International Relations and the challenge of American Primacy.

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New Jersey, Princeton University Press. Eds Theories of International Relations.

New York, Palgrave MacMillan. Or Was Anybody Ever a Realist? International Security, 25 1pp. European Consortium on Political Research.

Ottawa, 30 August-1 September, Canada: New York, Columbia University Press. International Security, 24 2pp. Neoclassical Realism neoclaseical Theories of Foreign Policy. World Politics, 51 1giseon. A Neoclassical Realist Theory of Underbalancing. International Security, 29 2pp. International Security, 27 1pp. International Necolassical, 41 1pp.

International Security, 25 3pp. International Security, 5 1pp. Power and Perceptions During the Cold War. New York, Cornell University Press. Ali Abdi Omar Written at: University Of Surrey Written for: Dr Tom Dyson Date written: Before you download your free e-book, please consider donating to support open access publishing.

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