European Academic Research ISSN 2286-4822
ISSN-L 2286-4822
Impact Factor: 3.4546 (UIF)
DRJI Value : 5.9 (B+)
Article Details :
Article Name :
Neoclassical Realism: Its Promises and Limits as a Theory of Foreign Policy
Author Name :
Mentor Beqa
Publisher :
Bridge Center
Article URL :
Abstract :
The paper constitutes a theoretical analysis of the development of ‘neoclassical realism’ as a distinct body of theories of foreign policy. Neoclassical realism is assessed in comparison to its predecessor – neorealism- in accordance with the criteria established by Imre Lakatos about scientific development. Lakatos argues that theories cannot be assessed individually rather as ‘series of theories’. These series labelled as Scientific Research Programs are composed of two parts: the hard core of the program and the positive heuristic. The hard core remains unchanged while the positive heuristic which consists of auxiliary hypotheses is always under improvement. According to Lakatos, a series of theories is theoretically progressive if each new theory has some excess empirical content over its predecessor, that is, if it predicts some novel unexpected fact. Neoclassical realism is a branch of realist tradition which integrates neorealist system’s theory with the more unit based variables of classical realism in an attempt to construct a coherent theory of foreign policy. It seems that this ‘series of theories’ bring some new facts on theoretical and empirical level. This paper argues that when neoclassical realist contributions are scrutinised; the difference with its predecessor – neorealism – vanishes because it is difficult to identify ‘some novel unexpected fact’. Although neoclassical realism constitutes a progressive development of realism as a framework of foreign policy analysis, it is unsustainable to pretend that it constitutes a new theory of foreign policy.
Keywords :
Neoclassical realism, neorealism, foreign policy theory, international system.

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