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Part of the book series: Palgrave Studies in European Union Politics ((PSEUP))

Abstract

Neorealism — or ‘structural realism’ as it is sometimes known — is one of the most influential and theoretically sophisticated theories in international politics. Indeed, for much of the last two decades, it has been seen by both its detractors and its advocates as the dominant paradigm in the discipline (Grieco 1997). It is therefore something of an anomaly that it has had so little impact on the study of European security and defence policy. In part, this is because the parsimony and elegance of neorealism — otherwise seen as one of its greatest strengths — is generally regarded as singularly unhelpful when it comes to explaining a complex multi-level phenomena such as the European Union’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). At the same time, however, realism has been largely sidelined in European Studies because it provides a critical and dissident voice that challenges many of the ‘common sense’ assumptions of the Liberal Zeitgeist prevalent in post-cold war Europe. Sartre once said that in French universities, Marxism was read in order to be dismissed. Much the same can be said for the way neorealism is approached in many European universities. Consequently, it is no surprise that, as Robert Gilpin (1996) famously wrote, ‘No one loves a Realist’.

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© 2012 Adrian Hyde-Price

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Hyde-Price, A. (2012). Neorealism:A Structural Approach to CSDP. In: Kurowska, X., Breuer, F. (eds) Explaining the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy. Palgrave Studies in European Union Politics. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230355729_2

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