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The Great Powers and the International System: Systemic Theory in Empirical Perspective (Cambridge Studies in International Relations) Paperback – April 25, 2013


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Braumoeller has established himself as one of the great international theorists of our age and should be commended for his highly sophisticated and intellectually articulated treatise. At the same time, it is a book that is sure to become an instant classic in the field of international relations." -Michael Cairo, H-Diplo Reviews

"It's much easier to hit pitches the greats never even swung at--can you believe how little guidance extant lit offers when it comes to piracy off the coast of Somalia? Or the use of Twitter bots to sway public opinion regarding immigration?--than to score runs off curveballs they were lucky to catch a piece of. Yet, every once in a while, someone swings for the fences. A wonderful example of this is Bear Braumoeller's The Great Powers and the International System." -Phil Arena, Duck of Minerva

"The scholarship in this book is of the highest order as it is rich in novel ideas, impressive erudition, and sophisticated empirical analysis. It is one of the benchmarks on several levels: as a study of great powers, as a general theory of international politics, and as a multi-method approach for understanding the course of history." --International Studies Association Best Book Award announcement

"Each of the case studies in Chapter 4 is strong in its own right, but the example on the end of the Cold War is simply a tour de force. It is the single most convincing narrative on this topic that I have read." --John Agnew, Journal of Politics

"Braumoeller presents the first logically sound and empirically tested systemic theory of international relations. He challenges systemic theorists such as Waltz and Wendt and combines rigorous theory, historical analysis, and statistical testing in one coherent package. He engages a wide range of literatures and debates, from the agent-structure debate to computational systems theory to the historical legacy of the Congress of Vienna, all with keen intelligence and even wit."
Andrew Kydd, University of Wisconsin

"Neither structural theories nor agent-based theories can adequately account for the fact that the system influences the behavior of states and states act to shape the system. Through rigorous theorizing, sophisticated statistical tests, and historical case studies, Braumoeller explains these reciprocal dynamics, and in the process transcends existing theoretical debates. This is systemic theory at its best. It deserves the fullest attention of all serious international relations scholars."
Jack S. Levy, Board of Governors' Professor, Rutgers University

"Bear F. Braumoeller's The Great Powers and the International System: Systemic Theory in Empirical Perspective accomplishes what no other scholarly work has effectively done by bridging the agent-structure gap and arguing for a truly systemic theory of international relations."
Michael Cairo, Transylvania University, H-Net Reviews

Book Description

The environment within which people exist has an impact on their interactions. For this reason, people seek to alter their environment. These statements form a systemic argument - a form of argument common in economics, health, and sociology, but virtually unknown in international relations. This book describes and tests a fully systemic theory of international politics. Using statistics and diplomatic history, it traces statesmen's efforts to influence the broad contours of the international system within which they interact.
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Product Details

  • Series: Cambridge Studies in International Relations
  • Paperback: 297 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (April 25, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1107659183
  • ISBN-13: 978-1107659186
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,131,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bear F. Braumoeller (Ph.D., University of Michigan) is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Political Science. He came to Ohio State from Harvard University in 2007. He is or has been on the Editorial Boards of five major journals or series, and he is currently a Councilor of the Peace Science Society.

Professor Braumoeller's research is in the areas of international relations, especially international security, and statistical methodology. His substantive research includes a new, book-length systemic theory of international relations, The Great Powers and the International System (Cambridge University Press; winner of the 2014 International Studies Association Best Book Award and the 2014 J. David Singer Book Award) as well as various works on international conflict, the history of American isolationism, and the problem of so-called "politically irrelevant dyads." He is currently involved in projects on civil war onset, peacekeeping success, and the end-of-war thesis.

His primary statistical research revolves around an original estimator, Boolean logit/probit, which is designed to capture the idea of causal complexity, or multiple causal paths to the same (non)outcome. He has also written on the methodology of necessary conditions, the study of variance-altering causes, and the use and abuse of multiplicative interaction terms. More recently, he has created a course titled "Data Literacy and Data Visualization" that has reached a wide online audience via iTunes U.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Hart on January 30, 2014
Format: Paperback
The central idea of Bear Braumoeller’s book is that Great Powers are free to act and react in the international system and by doing so they change the system so that others must react. He argues strongly for an approach to He puts forward a model that combines balancing of power with the pursuit of “ideal points” so that changes in the distribution of both power and ideology are motivators of state action. He provides evidence for the empirical validity of this model in Chapters 3 and 4. In the Chapter 4, three case studies are used to demonstrate the face validity of the causal factors identified in the model: the polarization of Europe (1815-1834); the US decision to go to war after the fall of France in World War II; and the response of the Bush administration to Gorbachev’s changed policies that brought about the end of the Cold War. The final chapter is devoted to illustrating the potential utility of the model for predicting near-term changes in the international systems that might result, for example, from an increased effort on the part of the United States to combat terrorism or a continued rise in Chinese power.
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