The triptych of realism, elitism, and conservatism

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This essay examines the interconnectedness among realism, elitism, and conservatism, claiming that realism cannot be understood in isolation from conservative skepticism regarding human nature and the possibility of change. Just as conservatism constitutes the foundation of realism, so it also constitutes the foundation of elitist and structural theories of democracy, thereby establishing an inherent interconnection among the three. Such interconnectedness lies at the root of the antagonism that realists display toward policies that aim to promote democracy. Contrary to the common wisdom among international relations scholars, it also implies a strong link between international relations and political science. Moreover, this interconnectedness discredits the positivist philosophy of the social sciences, calling instead for a normative philosophy of the social sciences.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)441-468
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Studies Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2006


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