Back to Basics: State Power in a Contemporary World

Back to Basics: State Power in a Contemporary World


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No scholar better exemplifies the intellectual challenges foisted on the Neorealist school of international relations than prominent scholar Stephen Krasner (Graham H. Stuart Professor of International Studies, the Senior Associate Dean for the Social Sciences, School of Humanities & Sciences, and Director of Policy Planning at the US State Department 2005-2007). Throughout his career he has wrestled with realism's promises and limitations. Krasner has always been a prominent defender of realism and the importance of power understood in material terms, whether military or economic. Yet realist frameworks rarely provided a complete explanation for outcomes, in Krasner's analyses, and much of his work involved understanding power's role in situations not well explained by realism. If states seek power, why do we see cooperation? If hegemony promotes cooperation why does cooperation continue in the face of America's decline? Do states actually pursue their national interests or do domestic structures and values derail the rational pursuit of material objectives? Krasner's explanations were as diverse as were the problems. They pushed, to use his phrase, "the limits of realism."

Edited by Martha Finnemore and Judith Goldstein, Back to Basics asks scholars to reflect on the role power plays in contemporary politics and how a power politics approach is influential today. The arguments made by the authors in this volume speak to one of three themes that run through Krasner's work: state power and hegemony; the relationship between states and markets; conceptions of the nation state in international politics. These themes appeared regularly in Krasner's scholarship as he wrestled, over his career, with fundamental questions of inter-state politics. Contributors largely agree on the centrality of power but diverge substantially on the ways power is manifest and should be measured and understood. Many of the contributors confronted the same intellectual dilemmas as Krasner in struggling to define power and its relationship to interests, yet their responses are different. Together, these essays explore new ways of thinking about power's role in contemporary politics and demonstrate the concepts continued relevance for both policy and theory.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199970094
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date: 04/11/2013
Pages: 392
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Martha Finnemore is University Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, The Elliot School of International Affairs, George Washington University. Judith Goldstein is Janet M. Peck Professor in International Communication, Stanford University.

Table of Contents


Introductory Essays: Realism as an Intellectual Tradition

1 Puzzles about Power
Martha Finnemore and Judith Goldstein

2 Power Politics in the Contemporary World:
Lessons from the Scholarship of Stephen Krasner
Martha Finnemore and Judith Goldstein

3 Stephen Krasner: Subversive Realist
Robert O. Keohane

Theoretical Reflections on Power, States, and Sovereignty

4 Authority, Coercion, and Power in International Relations
David A. Lake

5 Governance under Limited Sovereignty
Thomas Risse

6 Three Scenes of Sovereignty and Power
Etel Solingen

7 States and Power as Ur-Force: Domestic Traditions and Embedded Actors in
World Politics
Peter J. Katzenstein

State Power and the Global Economy

8 Currency and State Power
Benjamin J. Cohen

9 International Trade Law as a Mechanism for State Transformation
Richard H. Steinberg

10 Choice and Constraint in the Great Recession of 2008
Peter Gourevitch

The Subversive Effects of Globalization

11 Power Politics and the Powerless
Arthur A. Stein

12 Globalization and Welfare: Would a Rational Hegemon Still Prefer Openness?
Lloyd Gruber

13 The Tragedy of the Global Institutional Commons
Daniel W. Drezner

Parting Thoughts: Causation and Complexity

14 Causation and Responsibility in a Complex World
Robert Jervis

15 Power, Bargaining, and Persuasion: Unevenly Mapped Terrain
Stephen D. Krasner

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