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Embedded Revisionism: Networks, Institutions, and Challenges to World Order

  • Stacie E. Goddard

How do institutions shape revisionist behavior in world politics? Applying a network-relational approach to revisionist states and challenges to institutional order, I conceive of institutions as networks—as patterns of ongoing social transactions in which revisionists are embedded. Revisionist behavior is shaped by how a state is positioned within this existing network of institutions. A state's position significantly influences the material and cultural resources the state can deploy in pursuit of its aims, and thus the revisionist's strategy. Focusing on two measures of network position—access and brokerage—I propose four ideal types of revisionists and their strategies in the international system: integrated revisionists, who are likely to pursue institutional engagement; bridging revisionists, who will seek rule-based revolution; isolated revisionists, who prefer to exit the institutional system; and rogue revisionists, who have few resources at hand, and thus ultimately must resort to hegemonic violence. I test these ideal types in four cases of revisionists and institutional orders: Russia in the 1820s; Prussia in the 1860s; the Soviet Union in the early Cold War; and Japan in the 1920s and 1930s.

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I thank Debbi Avant, Charli Carpenter, Tunde Cserpes, David Edelstein, Paul MacDonald, Ron Krebs, Mikki Kressbach, George Lawson, Jennifer Mitzen, Joseph Parent, Bruce Russett, Kathryn Sikkink, Duncan Snidal, Art Stein, Bill Wohlforth, the participants at the Yale International Relations seminar, and two anonymous reviewers for their comments. The Norwegian Research Council provided funding in support of this article under the project “Evaluating Power Political Repertoires (EPOS),” project no. 250419.

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