State Personhood, Reality or Fiction? The Divergent Views of C. Escudé (1994) and A. Wendt (2004)

Serie Documentos de Trabajo UCEMA No. 438

14 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2011

See all articles by Carlos Escudé

Carlos Escudé

Universidad del CEMA - CEIEG; CONICET

Date Written: November 3, 2010


This paper counterpoises Carlos Escudé's 1994, 1995 and 1997 treatment of anthropomorphic metaphors of the state, with Alexander Wendt's 2004 treatment of the same subject. It stresses the need for a historical memory in IR scholarship, suggesting that the lack of an epistemological equivalent to the concept of ‘discovery’ in the harder sciences may open the way for less-than-scholarly attitudes towards precedents, making the accumulation of knowledge less likely. It discusses whether or not state personhood is actually a fiction. Finally, it explores the consequences, for IR theory in general and peripheral realist theory in particular, of state personhood being indeed a harmful fiction. The author argues that if anthropomorphisms of the state lead to fallacy, then Hedley Bull’s domestic analogy is likewise fallacious. And if this is the case, the hierarchy of the structure of the interstate system is exposed, together with Waltz’s error in postulating an anarchy.

Suggested Citation

Escudé, Carlos, State Personhood, Reality or Fiction? The Divergent Views of C. Escudé (1994) and A. Wendt (2004) (November 3, 2010). Serie Documentos de Trabajo UCEMA No. 438. Available at SSRN: or

Carlos Escudé (Contact Author)

Universidad del CEMA - CEIEG ( email )

1054 Buenos Aires


CONICET ( email )

Rivadavia 1917
Buenos Aires, Federal Capital C1033AAJ

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