The New Liberalism

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2 Scopus citations


This article presents three core theoretical assumptions underlying liberal theories, elaborates the three variants of liberal theory, and draws some broader implications. Liberal international relations theory's fundamental premise-state preferences derived from the domestic and transnational social pressures critically influence state behaviour-can be restated in terms of three core assumptions: the nature of societal actors: globalization generates differentiated demands from societal individuals and groups with regard to international affairs; the nature of the state: states represent the demands of a subset of domestic individuals and social groups, on the basis of whose interests they define 'state preferences' and act instrumentally to manage globalization; the nature of the international system: the pattern of interdependence among state preferences shapes state behaviour. Perhaps the most important advantage of liberal theory lies in its capacity to serve as the theoretical foundation for a shared multicausal model of instrumental state behaviour-thereby moving the discipline beyond paradigmatic warfare among unicausal claims.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of International Relations
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191577031
ISBN (Print)9780199219322
StatePublished - Sep 2 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


  • Globalization
  • International relations
  • Liberal theory
  • Liberalism
  • Social pressures
  • State behaviour
  • State preferences


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