State and Society in International Relations: A Second Agenda

  • Fred Halliday


For the last two decades much of the theoretical debate within International Relations has focused on the question of the state. Some discussion has been around the analytic primacy of the state as the constitutive actor in international relations, while some has focussed on normative questions, of the degree to which the state can be regarded as the primary guarantor of what is good, within and between states. ‘State-centric’ realism has reasserted traditional positions on the state and has, through the emergence of Neorealism, asserted new ones, especially in the field of international economic relations. Other paradigms have challenged the primacy of the state, either by asserting the role of non-state actors, as in theories of interdependence and transnationalism, or by asserting the primacy of global systems and structures over specific actors, state or non-state. All three of these approaches have been influenced by broader trends within political science: Realism by orthodox political theory; Transnationalism by the Pluralist and Behavioural rejection of the state in favour of studying actions; Structuralism by theories of socioeconomic determination.


International Relation State Apparatus Specific Society State Back International Political Economy 
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© Millennium: Journal of International Studies 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fred Halliday

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