Realism as social criticism: The thinking partnership of Hannah Arendt and Hans Morgenthau

Abstract

The contextualisation of Hans Morgenthau’s thought has been significantly advanced in recent years. Uncovering the intellectual relationships Morgenthau had with Max Weber, Friedrich Nietzsche, members of the Frankfurt School, or even Carl Schmitt has not only revealed the development of political discourses in the Weimar Republic, but it has helped to rectify interpretational shortcomings of realism and encouraged scholarship to apply realist principles to twenty-first century world politics. Despite this comprehensive contextualisation, the ‘thinking partnership’ between Morgenthau and Hannah Arendt has attracted so far only rhapsodic elaborations. This neglect is surprising because, at a time when the financial crisis in Western democracies is gradually turning into a crisis of democracy itself, a close reading of them offers a kind of social criticism whose implications are worthy of consideration.

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Acknowledgements

I am grateful to Hartmut Behr, Seán Molloy, as well as the participants and the audience of the Reorientating Realism Workshop, which took place at the University of Edinburgh in June 2012, for their helpful, encouraging and engaging comments.

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Rösch, F. Realism as social criticism: The thinking partnership of Hannah Arendt and Hans Morgenthau. Int Polit 50, 815–829 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1057/ip.2013.32

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Keywords

  • classical realism
  • Hannah Arendt
  • Hans Morgenthau
  • oikos
  • polis