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Inter-paradigm debate in international relations theory

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Title: Inter-paradigm debate in international relations theory  
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Subject: International relations theory, Constructivism (international relations), Critical international relations theory, Feminism (international relations), Securitization (international relations)
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Inter-paradigm debate in international relations theory

The inter paradigm debate in international relations theory refers to the academic debate between proponents of realism, liberalism and Marxist approaches to international relations theory. This academic debate was topical during the 1970s and 1980s.[1]


Some scholars have lamented the so-called "paradigm wars", particularly between (neo)realism and (neo)liberalism. Jack S. Levy argues that while the realism-liberalism debate "has imposed some order on a chaotic field," the distinction ignores diversity within each of the two camps and inhibits attempts at synthesis. Levy suggests instead focusing on making testable predictions and leaving "the question of whether a particular approach fits into a liberal or realist framework to the intellectual historians."[2] Bear F. Braumoeller likewise proposes that the "temporary theoretical convenience" of separating realism and liberalism "was transformed into ossified ontology" that inhibited attempts at theoretical synthesis. Socialization also leads to a situation where "scholars working primarily within one paradigm who attempt [to combine paradigms] are likely to be chastised for theoretical impurity".[3]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Levy, Jack S. (Jun 1998). "The Causes of War and the Conditions of Peace". Annual Review of Political Science 1: 139–165.  
  3. ^ Braumoeller, Bear F. (2009). "Rediscovering Complexity and Synthesis". The Future of Political Science: 100 Perspectives (1 ed.). New York: Routledge Press.  

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