Why Are Revisionist States Revisionist? Reviving Classical Realism as an Approach to Understanding International Change

  title={Why Are Revisionist States Revisionist? Reviving Classical Realism as an Approach to Understanding International Change},
  author={Sten Rynning and Jens Ringsmose},
  journal={International Politics},
In this article, we argue that Realism recently has eschewed big and important questions of war and peace and that revived Classical Realism can help bring Realism back on track. Modern Realists tend to assume that states are either all status quo players or all revisionists, and the result is a slippery grasp of the sources and dynamics of international change. To revive Classical Realism, we examine three dominant sets of criticism. We notably return to the classical texts of Realism to show… 

A reassessment of E.H. Carr and the realist tradition: Britain, German–Soviet Relations and neoclassical realism

Abstract E.H. Carr’s connection to realism has increasingly been called into question. Revisionist literature has pointed to realism’s narrow understanding of Carr and drawn from his wider body of

Revising order or challenging the balance of military power? An alternative typology of revisionist and status-quo states

Abstract Unimensional accounts of revisionism – those that align states along a single continuum from supporting the status quo to seeking a complete overhaul of the international system – miss

Revisionism revisited: developing a typology for classifying Russia and other revisionist powers

IR has failed to develop a consistent and coherent conceptualization of revisionism. Conceptual stretching, false comparison, and “status quo biases” pervade the literature. In order to overcome

Ghosts in the machine: Is IR eternally haunted by the spectre of old concepts?

Where ideas such as the ‘End of History’, ‘Globalisation’ or a ‘New World Order’ once animated the academy, recent debates within International Relations (IR) seem indicative of an emerging

Russian revisionism in the Putin era: an overview of post-communist military interventions in Georgia, Ukraine, and Syria

  • Barbara Pisciotta
  • Sociology
    Italian Political Science Review/Rivista Italiana di Scienza Politica
  • 2019
Abstract This paper seeks to develop a new typology of revisionism based on the nature of the aims (territorial/normative/hierarchy of prestige), the means employed (peaceful/violent), and the level

The US Rebalance towards the Asia-Pacific: Really Realist?

The Obama administration perceives the Asia-Pacific as a vital and dynamic region and thus prioritized it in its foreign policy agenda. Some scholars have suggested that the Obama administration’s

Neoclassical Realist Theories, Intervening Variables, and Paradigmatic Boundaries

Extant neoclassical realist scholarship has identified a range of real-world factors (e.g., state capacity, interest group pressure, strategic culture, and leadership personality) that serve as

Framing intervention in a multipolar world

ABSTRACT In this contribution to the forum, I draw attention to the persistent inadequacy of existing categories in the field of international studies to capture and frame patterns of intervention

The Taming of The Red Dragon: The Militarized Worldview and China's Use of Force, 1949–2001

For a long time, the People's Republic of China was known to be prone to use military force to settle foreign policy crises or interstate disputes. Extending Alexander Wendt's analysis of different

A Critical Analysis of the U.S. “Pivot” toward the Asia-Pacific: How Realistic is Neo-realism?

IntroductionAt the time of writing, the U.S. had its highest-ranking military delegation in over two years, led by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, visiting Beijing. The



Structural Realism after the Cold War

Some students of international politics believe that realism is obsolete.1 They argue that, although realism’s concepts of anarchy, self-help, and power balancing may have been appropriate to a

Realism and International Relations

Realism and International Relations provides students with a critical yet sympathetic survey of political realism in international theory. Using six paradigmatic theories - Hans Morgenthau, Kenneth

Mearsheimer's WorldOffensive Realism and the Struggle for Security: A Review Essay

  • G. Snyder
  • Political Science
    International Security
  • 2002
Great Power Politics. New York: W.W. Norton, 2001. More than afty years have passed since Hans Morgenthau introduced “realism” as an approach to the study of international relations. Since then, the

The Roots of Revisionism: Fascist Italy, 1922-39

HE REVISIONIST state has been brought back in to international relations theory.1 The reintroduction of revisionist states to the study of international relations has provided scholars from a variety

Realism and America's Rise: A Review Essay

Real ism is usually regarded as a dominant-and monolithic-approach in the study of international relations. In the past few years, however, some of the most vigorous and interesting debates in

Mearsheimer's World-Offensive Realism and the Struggle for Security

Great Power Politics. New York: W.W. Norton, 2001. More than afty years have passed since Hans Morgenthau introduced “realism” as an approach to the study of international relations. Since then, the

Glimmer of a New Leviathan: Total War in the Realism of Niebuhr, Morgenthau, and Waltz

The Second World War put an end to America’s historical isolation from international power politics, and so also to the long-standing American defiance of the Realist ideology that shaped Old World

International Theory: The Case for a Classical Approach

  • H. Bull
  • Philosophy
    World Politics
  • 1966
Two approaches to the theory of international relations at present compete for our attention. The first of these I shall call the classical approach. By this I do not mean the study and criticism of

The richness of the tradition of political realism

What do the following scholars have in common: Kenneth Waltz, Robert Keohane, Stephen Krasner, Robert W. Tucker, George Modelski, Charles Kindleberger, and the present writer? Very little, you might

International theory: positivism and beyond: Is there a classical international theory?

Martin Wight on international theory In the 1960s Martin Wight (1966) provocatively argued that there is no international political theory worthy of the name – if we compare it to domestic political