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Kenneth Waltz

Kenneth Waltz

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Kenneth Neal Waltz is a member of the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Berkeley
The University of California, Berkeley , is a teaching and research university established in 1868 and located in Berkeley, California, USA...

 and Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

 and one of the most prominent scholars of international relations
International relations
International relations is the study of relationships between countries, including the roles of states, inter-governmental organizations , international nongovernmental organizations , non-governmental organizations and multinational corporations...

 (IR) alive today. He is one of the founders of neorealism, or structural realism, in international relations theory
International relations theory
International relations theory is the study of international relations from a theoretical perspective; it attempts to provide a conceptual framework upon which international relations can be analyzed. Ole Holsti describes international relations theories act as a pair of coloured sunglasses,...

.

Biography


Waltz is Emeritus Professor of Political Science at UC Berkeley and Adjunct Senior Research Scholar at Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

. He is also a past President of the American Political Science Association
American Political Science Association
The American Political Science Association is a professional association of political science students and scholars in the United States. Founded in 1903, it publishes three academic journals...

 (1987–1988) and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. The Academy’s elected members are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs.James Bowdoin, John Adams, and...

. Waltz, who is also a World War II veteran, received his B.A. majoring in Economics from Oberlin College
Oberlin College
Oberlin College is a private liberal arts college in Oberlin, Ohio, noteworthy for having been the first American institution of higher learning to regularly admit female and black students. Connected to the college is the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, the oldest continuously operating...

 before obtaining a Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University in 1954.

Levels of analysis


Waltz's initial contribution to the field of political science was his 1959 book, "Man, the State, and War", which classified theories of international relations into three categories, or levels of analysis. The first level explained international politics as being driven primarily by actions of individuals, or outcomes of psychological forces. The second level explained international politics as being driven by the domestic regimes of states, while the third level focused on the role of systemic factors, or the effect that international anarchy was exerting on state behavior. "Anarchy" in this context is meant not as a condition of chaos or disorder, but one in which there is no sovereign body that governs nation-states.

Neorealism



Waltz's key contribution to the realm of political science is in the creation of neorealism (or structural realism, as he calls it), a theory of International Relations (IR) which posits that states' actions can often be explained by the pressures exerted on them by international competition, which limits and constrains their choices. Neorealism thus aims to explain recurring patterns of state behavior, such as why the relations between Sparta and Athens resembled in important ways the relations between the US and the USSR.

Waltz argues that the world exists in a state of perpetual international anarchy. Waltz distinguishes the anarchy of the international environment from the order of the domestic one. In the domestic realm, all actors may appeal to, and be compelled by, a central authority - 'the state' or 'the government' - but in the international realm, no such source of order exists. The anarchy of international politics – its lack of a central enforcer – means that states must act in a way that ensures their security above all, or else risk falling behind. This is a fundamental fact of political life faced by democracies and dictatorships alike: except in rare cases, they cannot count on the good will of others to help them, so they must always be ready to fend for themselves.

Like most neorealists Waltz accepts that globalization
Globalization
Globalization refers to the increasingly global relationships of culture, people and economic activity. Most often, it refers to economics: the global distribution of the production of goods and services, through reduction of barriers to international trade such as tariffs, export fees, and import...

 is posing new challenges to states, but he does not believe states are being replaced, because no other non-state actor can equal the capabilities of the state. Waltz has suggested that globalization is a fad of the 1990s and if anything the role of the state has expanded its functions in response to global transformations.

Neorealism was Waltz's response to what he saw as the deficiencies of classical realism. Although the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, neorealism and realism have a number of fundamental differences. The main distinction between the two theories is that classical realism puts human nature, or the urge to dominate, at the center of its explanation for war, while neorealism stakes no claim on human nature and argues instead that the pressures of anarchy shape outcomes regardless of human nature or domestic regimes.

Waltz's theory, as he explicitly makes clear in "Theory of International Politics
Theory of International Politics
Theory of International Politics is a 1979 international relations theory book, written by Kenneth Waltz that elaborated a new theory, the neorealist theory of international relations, and surpassed the cognitive limitations of the past...

", is not a theory of foreign policy and does not attempt to predict or explain specific state actions, such as the collapse of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. The theory explains only general principles of behavior that govern relations between states in an anarchic international system, rather than specific actions. These recurring principles of behavior include balancing of power (the theory was revised by Stephan Walt, modifying the "balance of power" concept to "balance of threat"), entering into individually sub-optimal arms races, and exercising restraint in proportion to relative power. In Theory of International Politics (1979:6) Waltz suggests that explanation rather than prediction is expected from a good social science theory, since social scientists cannot run controlled experiments that give the natural sciences so much predictive power.

Awards

  • The Heinz Eulau Award for "Best Article" in the American Political Science Review
    American Political Science Review
    The American Political Science Review is the flagship publication of the American Political Science Association and is the most prestigious journal in political science according to the ISI 2004 Journal Citation Report...

     in 1990 for Nuclear Myths and Political Realities.
  • The James Madison Award for "distinguished scholarly contributions to political science" from the American Political Science Association in 1999. http://www.columbia.edu/cu/pr/00/03/kennethWaltz.html
  • International Studies Association, 2010 International Security Studies Section Distinguished Scholar.

Honorary Doctorates


University of Macedonia
University of Macedonia
The University of Macedonia is located in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, Greece. It is the second largest university in Thessaloniki...

(Greece),Copenhagen University, Oberlin College, Nankai University, and Aberystwyth University.

Classical realists

  • Thucydides
    Thucydides
    Thucydides was a Greek historian and author from Alimos. His History of the Peloponnesian War recounts the 5th century BC war between Sparta and Athens to the year 411 BC...

  • Niccolò Machiavelli
    Niccolò Machiavelli
    Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli was an Italian historian, philosopher, humanist, and writer based in Florence during the Renaissance. He is one of the main founders of modern political science. He was a diplomat, political philosopher, playwright, and a civil servant of the Florentine Republic...

  • Thomas Hobbes
    Thomas Hobbes
    Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury , in some older texts Thomas Hobbs of Malmsbury, was an English philosopher, best known today for his work on political philosophy...

  • George F. Kennan
    George F. Kennan
    George Frost Kennan was an American adviser, diplomat, political scientist and historian, best known as "the father of containment" and as a key figure in the emergence of the Cold War...

  • Hans Morgenthau
    Hans Morgenthau
    Hans Joachim Morgenthau was one of the leading twentieth-century figures in the study of international politics...


Neorealists

  • Christopher Layne
    Christopher Layne
    Christopher Layne, PhD is Robert M. Gates Chair in Intelligence and National Security at the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. An international relations theorist, he is a noted neorealist and critic of liberal internationalism. In his writings on U.S...

  • Joseph Grieco
    Joseph Grieco
    Joseph M Grieco is an American academic who is currently a Professor of Political Science at Duke University. Within international realations theory he is considered to be a neorealist and an important figure in the debate between neorealists and neoliberals....

  • Stephen D. Krasner
    Stephen D. Krasner
    Stephen Krasner is an international relations professor at Stanford University and is the former Director of Policy Planning at the United States Department of State, a position he held from 2005 until April 2007 while on leave from Stanford...

  • John J. Mearsheimer
  • Stephen Walt
    Stephen Walt
    Stephen Martin Walt is a professor of international affairs at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. Among his most prominent works are and . He coauthored The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy with John Mearsheimer.-Education and career:In 1983, he received a Ph.D. in...

  • Robert J. Art
    Robert J. Art
    Robert J. Art is Christian A. Herter Professor of International Relations at Brandeis University, and Fellow at MIT Center for International Studies....


Neoclassical realists

  • Randall Schweller
    Randall Schweller
    Randall L. Schweller is Full Professor of Political Science at The Ohio State University, where he has taught since 1994.He received his PhD from Columbia University in 1993 and served as an Olin Fellow at Harvard University in 1993-94...

  • William Wohlforth
    William Wohlforth
    William Curti Wohlforth is the Daniel Webster Professor of Government in the Dartmouth College Department of Government, of which he was chair for three academic years...

  • Fareed Zakaria
    Fareed Zakaria
    Fareed Rafiq Zakaria is an Indian-American journalist and author. From 2000 to 2010, he was a columnist for Newsweek and editor of Newsweek International. In 2010 he became Editor-At-Large of Time magazine...

  • Thomas J.Christensen
  • Colin Dueck
  • Steven Lobell
  • Norrim Ripsman
  • Jeffrey Taliaferro

Issues and theory

  • International relations
    International relations
    International relations is the study of relationships between countries, including the roles of states, inter-governmental organizations , international nongovernmental organizations , non-governmental organizations and multinational corporations...

  • Neorealism (international relations)
  • Nuclear deterrence
  • Nuclear optimism
  • Nuclear proliferation
    Nuclear proliferation
    Nuclear proliferation is a term now used to describe the spread of nuclear weapons, fissile material, and weapons-applicable nuclear technology and information, to nations which are not recognized as "Nuclear Weapon States" by the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, also known as the...


External links