International Relations and the First Great Debate: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

International Relations and the First Great Debate

1st Edition

Edited by Brian Schmidt


172 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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This book provides an authoritative account of the controversy about the first great debate in the field of International Relations. Of all the self-images of International Relations, none is as pervasive and enduring as the notion that a great debate pitting idealists against realists took place in the 1940s.

The story of the first great debate continues to structure the contemporary identity of International Relations, yet in recent years revisionist historians have challenged the conventional wisdom that the field experienced such a debate. Drawing on expert contributors working in Canada, Europe, the United Kingdom, and the United States, this book includes key participants in the historiographical controversy. The book assembles the existing scholarship and provides a thorough analysis of the status of the first great debate in the history of International Relations. It is an invaluable examination of the causes and future direction of idealist and realist arguments.

International Relations and the First Great Debate will be of interest to students and scholars concerned with the foundations of International Relations.


"The book remains one of the best recent efforts to demerit the quasi mythological mainstream narrative of the disciplinary origins of IR. This piece of work should be of great value to higher education students and academics interested in enhancing their knowledge about the history of the discipline of IR." - Ricardo Villanueva (University of Glasgow) The Kelvingrove Review

Table of Contents

Foreword Michael Cox 1. Introduction Brian Schmidt 2. The Myth of the ‘First Great Debate’ Peter Wilson 3. Rereading Early Twentieth-Century IR Theory Andreas Osiander 4. Didthe Realist-Idealist Great Debate Really Happen? Luke Ashworth 5. C.A.W. Manning and the First Great Debate David Long 6. The American National Interest Great Debate Brian Schmidt 7. Myth, Half-Truth, Reality or Strategy? Cameron Thies 8. Where are we now in the Debate about the First Great Debate? Peter Wilson

About the Editor

Brian C. Schmidt is Associate Professor of Political Science at Carleton University.

About the Series

New International Relations

The field of international relations has changed dramatically in recent years, with new subject matter being brought to light and new approaches from in and out of the social sciences being tried out. This series offers itself as a broad church for innovative work that aims to renew the discipline.


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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General