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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Theory of Metarealism Athwal, Amardeep


The Theory of Metarealism is a reformulation of Kenneth N . Waltz's landmark 1979 work, Theory of International Politics. Specifically, the reformulation is of Waltz's market-firm analogy and more generally his microeconomic logic. The starting points for the Theory of Metarealism are the two major problems present in structural neorealism, the approach most closely linked to Waltz's Theory of International Politics. These two major problems are European integration and the Cold War. Structural neorealism has generally been unable to explain these two anomalies. The Theory of Metarealism attempts primarily to address the two major problems by correcting and building upon the microeconomic logic of Waltz's Theory of International Politics. The thesis proceeds by first examining in some detail Waltz's Theory of International Politics, with specific attention being placed on Waltz's use of microeconomics. Secondly, the major problems with Waltz's approach and with structural neorealism more generally are highlighted. Third, the Theory of Metarealism is presented, with its two major components relating to the nature of systems and interunit interaction as a solution to the problems within Waltz's work and with structural neorealism. Finally, a case study of European security integration is presented to demonstrate the viability of the second component of the Theory of Metarealism. A number of important conclusions are drawn from the introduction of the Theory of Metarealism. It is determined that structural neorealism and neoliberal institutional as theories of international relations, can in some ways be synthesized. Secondly, international cooperation is deemed to be easier to achieve and international cooperation and conflict can be predicted more easily from the first component of the theory. In general, the Theory of Metarealism offers a more complete structural neorealist theory of international relations.

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