Rationality and history in political realism: The predominance of instrumentalism and the problem of theorizing substantive change

  • Nikolay Gudalov Санкт-Петербургский государственный университет, Российская Федерация, 199034, Санкт-Петербург, Университетская наб., 7–9

Аннотация

One of the main criticisms of political realism in International Relations theory has been that it poorly explains historical change. While some representatives of realism have paid a great deal of attention to historical alterations, realism, in general, does not offer a satisfactory account of substantive change. Interestingly, the same problem is largely faced by postpositivists, who, while criticising realists, appear to be not very well-prepared to offer a qualitative alternative. The present article aims at identifying some problems in the conceptualizations of historical change in realism, which are connected to too narrow treatments of rationality by realists. The linkage between the treatments of history and of rationality in realism has not been sufficiently covered in the literature yet. The problem was considered with reference to a wide range of examples of realist approaches which seem relevant and, to some degree, representative. The analysis drew on both classical and the most recent works of realists and their interpreters and critics. Besides, some contemporary philosophical views of rationality were examined. The article demonstrated that predominantly instrumentalist approaches to rationality have largely been prevalent in various realist conceptions at different stages of the development of realism. They have led, inter alia, to an unhistorical structuralism and/or to an understanding of change as limited to the succession of power relations, and to an underestimation of substantive change that is linked to rational social learning. The author pointed out some ways to correct the respective approaches, which aim at improving the concepts of rationality in International Relations theory.

Ключевые слова:

International Relations theory, realism, rationality, history

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Опубликован
2018-07-23
Как цитировать
Gudalov, N. (2018). Rationality and history in political realism: The predominance of instrumentalism and the problem of theorizing substantive change. Вестник Санкт-Петербургского университета. Международные отношения, 11(2), 200-215. https://doi.org/10.21638/11701/spbu06.2018.206
Раздел
Теория и методология исследования международных отношений