Psychology, Strategy and Conflict: Perceptions of Insecurity in International Relations, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Psychology, Strategy and Conflict

Perceptions of Insecurity in International Relations, 1st Edition

Edited by James W. Davis


250 pages

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This volume examines the explanatory nesting approach in the analysis of international relations and its continuing relevance in the 21st century.

International relations theory urgently needs strategies for coping with the growing complexity of the international system following the collapse of the US–Soviet bipolar stalemate, the multiple challenges to US unipolar hegemony, and the rise of powerful non-Western actors. 

Over the course of this book, leading scholars of international relations and diplomatic history return to an approach to explanation pioneered in the writings of Robert Jervis. The approach calls for nesting multiple layers of explanation--systemic, strategic, and perceptual--in an integrated causal account that is simultaneously parsimonious and nuanced. Highlighting the logic of strategic interactions under uncertainty, it also integrates the effects of psychological biases and the unintended consequences of acting in complex systems to provide explanations that are at once theoretically rigorous and rich in empirical detail. Analyzing the current state of Realist theory, signaling under conditions of uncertainty and anarchy, the role of nuclear weapons in international politics, the role of cognition and emotions in economic and foreign policy decision making, and questions of responsibility in international affairs, the authors provide a compelling guide for the future of international relations theory.

This book will be of much interest to students of international relations, foreign policy, and security studies.

Table of Contents

Foreword, Thomas C. Schelling Introduction, James W. Davis 1. Both Fox and Hedgehog: The Art of Nesting Structural and Perceptual Perspectives, Jack L. Snyder 2. Realism, Randall Schweller 3. Political Psychology, Rose McDermott 4. Rational Signaling Revisited, Jonathan Mercer 5. Fear, Greed, and Financial Decision Making, Janice Gross Stein 6. The Nuclear Question, Marc Trachtenberg 7. The Meaning of Nuclear Evolution: China's Nuclear Modernization and US-China Security Relations, Thomas J. Christensen 8. Reflections on System, System Effects, and 19th Century International Politics as the Practice of Civic Association, Paul W. Schroeder 9. The Art of the Intelligence Autopsy, James J. Wirtz 10. The (Good) Person and the (Bad) Situation: Recapturing Innocence at the Expense of Responsibility?, James W. Davis 11. Force in Our Times, Robert Jervis

About the Editor

James W. Davis is Director of the Institute for Political Science and Professor for Political Science at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland.

About the Series

Routledge Global Security Studies

Global Security Studies is a series for cutting-edge monographs and books on international security. It emphasizes cutting-edge scholarship on the forces reshaping global security and the dilemmas facing decision-makers the world over. The series stresses security issues relevant in many countries and regions, accessible to broad professional and academic audiences as well as to students, and enduring through explicit theoretical foundations.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Military / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / International Security
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / General