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A cultural theory of international relations /

Main Author: Lebow, Richard Ned.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Cambridge, UK ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2008
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Lebow's book is at once a superb example of scholarly breadth and the perils of overreach. Lebow (Dartmouth College) seems bent on reinventing international relations. This is a volume with immense goals--a new ontology for social science, a general theory of international relations--in short a new grand theory. While there is a lot of hubris here, he isn't attentive to the derivative nature of most of his theory. Ultimately this is a simple argument revealed in quotes such as "most real worlds are found in both triangles" and "different actors reveal different motives." He argues, with a very widespread intellectual debt, that historical cases can be found to fit any theory. Lebow does a great service to IR in that he reemphasizes, as few have done recently, the importance of the intangibles and the persistence of ageless wisdom. Realism and liberalism do not, as he correctly notes, pay any attention to "the spirit." Although this book with ample endorsements from heavyweight personalities will sell, it is unlikely to stand the test of time because of its fully derivative nature and its selective case studies. This is an intriguing volume for graduate courses in international relations. Summing Up: Optional. Graduate and research collections. D. N. Nelson Global Concepts & Communications, LLC, Alexandria, VA

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.