Strengths And Weaknesses Of Realism Analysis

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Realism is arguably one of the most prominent and most widely applied theory of International Relations. The fact that realist theories dating back to the 5th century BC can still provide a valid analysis about today’s world to some extent shows how well-grounded these theories are. However, like all theories ever created, realism also has its flaws and weaknesses. In my essay first I will explore the basic underlying concepts of realism, then I will revisit some of the main currents of thoughts in the field and finally I will point out some of the flaws and limitations of realist theories. To explore the weaknesses of realism I decided to turn to the criticism that was outlined by constructivists and by scholars of the English School.

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Constructivists emphasize the social construction of reality. According to them, human relations including international relations consist of thoughts and ideas and not essentially of material conditions or forces, therefore they reject the realist tendency of putting too much emphasis on material capabilities. Constructivists therefore also argue that in the process of states’ identity creation social interaction and meaning creation play a decisive role. Constructivists also criticize realists’ pursue to discover objective truths about the international system. They argue that there’s no objective assertion, since all claims are more or less…show more content…
In the previous section of my essay I already described how diverse the field really is. This diversion, however, often leads to division as well. One such division, for instance, is the debate between defensive and offensive realists. Offensive realists see hegemony as the paramount of state security and therefore perceive it as the best possible option to pursue. Defensive realists, on the other hand argue that hegemony most probably brings a significant amount of unwanted conflict with it, therefore it is wiser of states to opt for a balance of power systems where power is distributed relatively equally among states making it less likely that states will attack each other. This might only seem like a small disagreement between realist scholars, however it can influence policy making to a great extent. Thus, if scholars of the same theory cannot agree on a common theoretical framework, the field might become overcomplicated and it can hinder the applicability of the theory. Moreover, unsolved internal debates can weaken the prestige of any
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