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Durham e-Theses
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Political realism, Freud, and human nature in international relations

Schütt, Robert (2009) Political realism, Freud, and human nature in international relations. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



Political realism has enjoyed a renaissance in International Relations (IR). Recent studies have provided insightful accounts of its timeless virtues and philosophical depth. Although the concept of human nature has long been the philosophical basis of realism, it has now become a largely discredited idea. The thesis, Political Realism, Freud, and Human Nature in International Relations, provides an important re-examination of the concept of human nature in realist international-political theory with special reference to one of the truly consequential figures of Western thought: Sigmund Freud. The thesis questions whether human nature is really dead and also asks whether human nature ought to be dead. Examining a variety of theorists from Morgenthau to Mearsheimer commonly invoked as classical and post-classical realism's foremost proponents, the thesis shows that contemporary realism has not eliminated the concept of human nature from its study of world politics. Further, the thesis offers a powerful argument for the necessity of a sophisticated theory of human nature within realism, seeing Freud as offering the most appropriate starting point. This study will interest IR theorists and historians of international thought as well as Freud scholars.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:2009
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Sep 2011 18:25

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