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III. Deficits and Desiderata for Future Research

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Chapter Summary

The theories introduced in this chapter raise considerable doubts regarding the normative and idealising stances implied by harmonisation, modernisation and civilisation. In contrast to the assumptions of world pacification, the theories present here instead suggest the enduring evolution of international dependencies and tensions, and thus the conflicted character of the world order. The chapter introduces some of the shortcomings in (neo-)realist and critical approaches in schematic form in order to discuss thereafter some challenges to theorising global rivalries. As a classic problem-solving theory and as the most influential school within IR internationally, (neo-)realism can be understood as a particular strand of thought that makes the claims of peace through trade or peace through democratisation (in connection to Kant) seem downright naive. Classical theories of imperialism from left-liberal and Marxist perspectives, as well as new readings and developments of them adopt a socio-critical approach to research that counters realist power theory.

Keywords: (neo-) realism; civilisation; global rivalry; harmonisation; imperialism; left-liberal approach; Marxist approach; modernisation



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