Realism In The Hunger Games

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This scene from The Hunger Games provides an insightful framework which can be used to describe a realist’s interpretation of international politics. Realism as outlined by John J Mearsheimer in Anarchy and the Struggle for Power is characterized by five basic principles and assumptions, below I will demonstrate how they are each displayed in this clip from the movie.

The goal of the Hunger Games is to be the last contestant standing, or put another way, the most powerful contestant. In terms utilized by political realists this is known as being a hegemonic state. Mearsheimer defines hegemony as, “a state that is so powerful that it dominates all the other states in the system… states that achieve regional hegemony seek to prevent great powers in other regions from duplicating their feat” (Mearsheimer 37-38). Critical to understanding realism is that a states power comes from its military capability. Mearsheimer writes, “A state’s potential power is based on the size of its population and the level of its wealth. These two assets are the main building blocks of military power. (Mearsheimer 39). While power is defined slightly differently within the context of the Hunger Games, it is not a competition focused on wealth and population growth, the five core principles I mentioned earlier certainly still apply.

This first principle is that the international stage exists in a state of Anarchy. Mearsheimer writes, “it is an ordering principle, which says that the system
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