Neorealist, Neoliberal and Social Constructivist Approach on European Integration and European Security – Dissertation Example

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The paper "Neorealist, Neoliberal and Social Constructivist Approach on European Integration and European Security" is a great example of a dissertation on politics. The ending of the cold war has seen a renewed interest in shaping the way scholars conceptualize the international relations debate. While anarchy is still seen as a fundamental and widely accepted attribute of international affairs, the rationalist perspectives of neorealists and neoliberals, in spite of important contributions, are not sufficient in explaining the entire phenomenon occurring in contemporary international society. The European Union, with increasing levels of cooperation and integration and its collective security measures, in particular, does not adequately fit into either of the aforementioned rational models.

The theories of social constructivists, however, play an important and promising role in filling the gaps of the EU case that are left unexplained by neoliberals and neorealists. Neoliberals place great emphasis on the roles of international institutions. In particular, neoliberals argue that institutions reduce verification costs, create repetition, and make it easier to penalize cheaters. As Keohane asserts, “ In general, regimes make it more sensible to cooperate by lowering the likelihood of being double-crossed” .

(Keohane, 1984, p. 97) For neoliberals, states have only one goal in mixed-interest interactions: that is, to achieve the greatest potential individual gain. Likewise, neoliberals argue that states define their interests in strictly individualistic terms. Finally, neoliberals base their study of international cooperation on the assumption that states are basically ‘ atomistic’ actors. Neorealists, however, assert that states are not ‘ atomistic’ , but ‘ positional’ in character, and therefore in addition to worrying about cheating, states in cooperative arrangements are also concerned that their partners might achieve more from cooperation that they do.

For neorealists, a state will focus both on its absolute and relative gains from cooperation, and a state that is satisfied with a partner’ s compliance in a joint arrangement might nevertheless leave because the partner is achieving relatively greater gains. Neorealists and neoliberals agree that the international system is anarchical; there is disagreement as to what kinds of effects it brings and why it matters. For neorealists, international anarchy encourages competition and conflict among states and hinders their willingness to cooperate even when they share common interests. Moreover, it is impossible for international institutions to mitigate the anarchy’ s restrictive effects on interstate cooperation.

(Grieco, 1988, p. 485) Therefore neorealists argue a negative analysis of the likelihood of international cooperation and the capability of international institutions.

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