Violence in World Politics


Why does politics turn to violence? 

Realists on war 

  • War is the inevitable result of the anarchic state's system
    • No mechanism to resolve conflicts of interest
    • The use of force is the ultimate arbiter 
  • War occurs because states are self-interested, pursuing power and security 
  • This is a systemic/structural explanation of why war occurs.

Kenneth Walt

Man, the state, and war (1954)

  • "With many sovereign states, with no system of law enforceable among them, with each state judging its grievances and ambitions according to the dictates of its own reason or desire- conflict, sometimes leading to war is bound to occur" 

Critical questions?

Does the structural analysis fully explain the phenomenon of war?

Key question: What is at stake politically in the realist conceptualisation of war?

  • Posits was as 'natural' and unavoidable 
  • Renders the 'domestic sphere invisible and irrelevant 

Militarism and Milirisation 

  • Militarism: a society which believes strong military force should be maintained and used aggressively to defend…


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