The State and International Relations

16 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2007

Date Written: June 28, 2007


The state is central to the study of international relations and will remain so into the foreseeable future. State policy is the most common object of analysis. States decide to go to war. Correspondingly, states are a common unit of analysis in theories of international relations. This essay first reviews the rationales behind state-centric theories of international relations. The second section examines criticisms and probes the limits of state-centric theories. The third part identifies within state-centric theory three areas of promising research.

Keywords: state, systemic theory, national interest, international relations, unitary actor

Suggested Citation

Lake, David A., The State and International Relations (June 28, 2007). Available at SSRN: or

David A. Lake (Contact Author)

UC San Diego ( email )

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La Jolla, CA 92093-0521
United States
(858) 534-0347 (Phone)
(858) 534-7130 (Fax)


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