A Polarity in International Relations Theory Cover Image

Polarita v teorii mezinárodních vztahu
A Polarity in International Relations Theory

Author(s): Petr Kratochvíl
Subject(s): Politics / Political Sciences
Published by: Ústav mezinárodních vztahů

Summary/Abstract: The objective of the article is twofold: to shed more light on the concept of polarity and its current position and to set out the path which should be followed by research in the field of polarity if we wish to maintain polarity as a theoretically relevant category. The article looks at the definition of polarity as such and the definitions of the terms connected with polarity (polarisation and concentration). The author analyses developments in the understanding of polarity, with special attention paid to Morgenthau’s and Kaplan’s approaches, in order subsequently to turn to the most important part of the polarity debate, i.e. the relationship between polarity and system stability. The debate has long split researchers between advocates of stable multipolarity (e.g. Deutsch & Singer) and stable bipolarity (e.g. Waltz). There have been three major reactions to the inconclusive polarity/stability debate: The first group of researchers tried to find a solution with the help of behaviouralist methodology; others aimed at further elaborating the concept and thus enhancing its analytical usefulness, and yet another stream rejected the category entirely, viewing it as a tool with no satisfactory applicability. This article also analyses the current state of the debate.

  • Issue Year: 37/2002
  • Issue No: 4
  • Page Range: 26-46
  • Page Count: 21
  • Language: Czech