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Exploring the “myth” of hegemonic stability

  • Isabelle Grunberg (a1)

There is a growing discrepancy between the popularity of the hegemonic stability theory and the amount of material pointing to the theory's shortcomings, both analytic and empirical. This article begins with a discussion of the theory's major weaknesses and then offers an analysis of the theory's discourse. Using methods of structural analogy and the study of imagery, the investigation proceeds from the most superficial to the most deep-seated and universal imagery found in the theory's discourse. It argues that the idea of hegemonic stability and the notion of the benevolent hegemon have their roots in powerful and interrelated myths, including myths of the golden age, the Savior, and the death of the sun. It also argues that the ability of these myths to sway human emotions has interfered with the process of theory-building and scientific investigation, of which intuition is a vital component. It concludes that the continuing popularity of the hegemonic stability theory is based on the timeless appeal of the myths that it incorporates.

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International Organization
  • ISSN: 0020-8183
  • EISSN: 1531-5088
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