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Realism, Institutions, and Neutrality: Constraining Conflict Through the Force of Norms

Commonwealth: A Journal of Political Science, Vol. 9, pp. 37-56, 1998

20 Pages Posted: 31 May 2012  

Daniel A. Austin

Independent

Date Written: 1998

Abstract

Realism posits power as the key component of international relations. In contrast, Institutionalism looks to norms and customs as the primary bases of world politics. Yet both theories frequently fall short in explaining major international events. This article considers the institution of neutrality as an example of how norms exert a stabilizing influence in international relations. On the other hand, the failure to observe norms often results in instability, and in extreme cases, can lead to war. When this point is reached, the use of force may be the only means to restore a stable balance of power. By drawing on both Realist and Institutionalist theories, a richer explanation of international life can be found.

Suggested Citation

Austin, Daniel A., Realism, Institutions, and Neutrality: Constraining Conflict Through the Force of Norms (1998). Commonwealth: A Journal of Political Science, Vol. 9, pp. 37-56, 1998. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2067215

Daniel A. Austin (Contact Author)

Independent ( email )

124 W. 36th Street
Erie, PA 16508

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