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Social Theory of International Politics

$163.00 (P)

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Part of Cambridge Studies in International Relations

  • Date Published: November 1999
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521465571

$ 163.00 (P)

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About the Authors
  • Drawing on philosophy and social theory, Social Theory of International Politics develops a cultural theory of international politics that contrasts with the realist mainstream. Wendt argues that states can view each other as enemies, rivals, or friends. He characterizes these roles as "cultures of anarchy," which are shared ideas that help shape states' interests and capabilities. These cultures can change over time as ideas change. Wendt thus argues that the nature of international politics is not fixed, and that the international system is not condemned to conflict and war.

    • Long-awaited study by a rising star in IR theory. Wendt's work is well-known through articles, and this book presents it in this form for the first time
    • Sophisticated study of the importance of culture and ideas in international relations
    • Will be of interest to philosophy of social science people, and sociologists as well as IR theorists
    Read more


    • Winner of the International Studies Best Book of the Decade Award

    Reviews & endorsements

    "Social Theory deserves the distinguished company in which its title implicitly places it. The writing is careful, engaging, and sophisticated, and anticipates and disarms potential critics. All libraries should own this book and all scholars of international relations should read it." E. R. DeSombre, Choice

    "A new 'constructivist' approach to international politics has been gaining ground in recent years....A leading figure in this movement, Wendt takes aim at realists and liberals who stress materialist or individualist causes of state action." Foreign Affairs

    "The writing is careful, engaging, and sophisticated, and anticipates and disarms potential one will be able to ignore what Wendt has done. All libraries should own this book and all scholars of internaional relations should read it." Choice

    "...Alexander Wendt has provided one of the most sophisticated and hard-hitting constructivist critiques of structural realism. Social Theory of International Politics provides the first book-length statement of his unique brand of constructivism." International Security

    "Alexander Wendt's Social Theory of International Politics is one of the most important books of international relations (IR) theory to be published in the past few decades...Wendt's contribution is impressive and deserves consideration by all students of IR, as well as those who seek to understand the role of ideas, norms and culture in political life...Wendt's book systematically tackles a host of devilishly difficult and professionally contested issues with a clear-eyed, eloquent, and original approach...with this extraordinarily thoughtful book, Wendt has made the best analytical case so far for taking seriously the social nature of international politics." Journl of Politics

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 1999
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521465571
    • length: 452 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 159 x 33 mm
    • weight: 0.83kg
    • contains: 4 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Four sociologies of international politics
    Part I. Social Theory:
    2. Scientific realism and social kinds
    3. 'Ideas all the way down?': on the constitution of power and interest
    4. Structure, agency and culture
    Part II. International Politics:
    5. The state and the problem of corporate agency
    6. Three cultures of anarchy
    7. Process and structural change
    8. Conclusion

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Political Sociology
  • Author

    Alexander Wendt, Ohio State University


    • Winner of the International Studies Best Book of the Decade Award

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