What does neo-realism mean?


What does neo-realism mean?

In: 10

It’ll depend on the context. Realism is a movement in many different disciplines and the neo- version of it will have different qualities depending on that. Generally, realism is a focus on capturing detail as accurately or “objectively” as possible, with little interruption from form and distinctive style. The “neo” suffix is basically saying it’s a resurgence/ “in the manner that has been recently popular with contemporary artists.” So, a return to works that try to appear “realistic.”

Neo-realism, in international politics, sees other countries (<cough> China) as sources of competition and conflict, but not co-operation.

But who needs [co-operation](https://thebulletin.org/doomsday-clock/current-time/)?

Neorealism is a theory of international politics. It is a subcategory of the “realism” category. These theories have certain things in common: first they argue that the international system is inherently anarchic and that this fact is unchangeable. This means that there’s no authority which can meaningfully stop states from going into conflict with each other, except for other states. Secondly they argue that states are inherently selfish. States will only do things that increase their own security and prosperity. States can still do things that help other states but they will only do so if they stand to gain something. Thirdly states see the international community as a zero sum game. This means that states measure their actions with each other in terms of relative gains. When the US trades with a nation, the US expects to gain more from the trade than they put in

You can compare realism to for example liberalism. Liberal IP theorists do believe that the international system can be changed by for example making international courts that can sanction states that act inappropriately – in short liberal theorists believe that the prisoners dilemma can be solved and realist theorists believe it cannot

Neorealism distinguishes itself from other realist branches by being 3rd order theories. This means that they’re analyzing international politics based on how systems make states take certain decisions. The most famous neorealist, Kenneth Waltz, made an analysis of WW1 where he argued that the system of multiple great powers who were in conflict with each other but without clear dominant powers, led to the war. Other realist theories might be first order where they look at individual state leaders behavior and second order which looks at states as primary actors

Neorealism tends to split into either defensive or offensive neorealism. Defensive neorealists argue that states are incentivized to maximize their deterrence, making it less likely for states to attack them. Offensive realists argue (Mearsheimer) that states need to do preemptive first strikes against states that have the potential to become threats in the future