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The second image reversed: the international sources of domestic politics

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 May 2009

Peter Gourevitch
Associate Professor of Political Science at McGill University


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The international system is not only an expression of domestic structures, but a cause of them. Two schools of analysis exploring the impact of the international system upon domestic politics (regime types, institutions, coalitions, policies) may be distinguished: those which stress the international economy, and those which stress political-military rivalry, or war. Among the former are such arguments as: late industrialization (associated with Gershenkron); dependencia or core-periphery arguments (Wallerstein); liberal development model (much American writing in the 50s and 60s); transnational relation-modernization (Nye, Keohane, Morse); neo-mercantilists (Gilpin); state-centered Marxists (Schurmann). Arguments stressing the role of war include those which focus on the organizational requirements of providing security (Hintze, Anderson), the special nature of foreign relations (classical political theory), territorial compensation (diplomatic history), and strains of foreign involvement (analysis of revolutions). These arguments provide the basis for criticism of much of the literature which uses domestic structure as an explanation of foreign policy, in particular those which (such as the strong-state weak-state distinction) tend, by excessive focus on forms, to obscure the connection between structures and interests, and the role of politics. These arguments also permit criticism of the notion of a recent fundamental discontinuity in the nature of international relations.

Copyright © The IO Foundation 1978


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28 Ibid., p. 199.

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