Analytical Distinctions and Theories
The method by which we classify social phenomena is indicated less by their nature than by the aims of our analysis. No existing taxonomy, including that proposed by Professor Rosenau, is convenient for the comparative study of foreign policy which is the major objective of this book. Hence I would like to propose a new classification of the uses of the term ‘national interest’ into aspirational, operational and explanatory and polemical. The logic of this classification is highly imperfect since the third category overlaps with the first two; moreover, the suggested categories do not escape the nature of ‘ideal types’. Nevertheless, the classification is operationally convenient since every single use of ‘national interest’ falls predominantly, though seldom completely, within one of the proposed categories.
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2/Analytical Distinctions and Theories
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