Contrary to conventional wisdom, the concept of power has not always been central to international relations theory. During the 1920s and 30s, power was often ignored or vilified by international relations scholars—especially in America. Power and International Relations explores how this changed in later decades by tracing how power emerged as an important social science concept in American scholarship after World War I. Combining intellectual history and conceptual analysis, David Baldwin examines power’s increased presence in the study of international relations and looks at how the three dominant approaches of realism, neoliberalism, and constructivism treat power.
The clarity and precision of thinking about power increased greatly during the last half of the twentieth century, due to efforts by political scientists, psychologists, sociologists, economists, philosophers, mathematicians, and geographers who contributed to “social power literature.” Baldwin brings the insights of this literature to bear on the three principal theoretical traditions in international relations theory. He discusses controversial issues in power analysis, and shows the relevance of older works frequently underappreciated today.
Focusing on the social power perspective in international relations, this book sheds light on how power has been considered during the last half century and how it should be approached in future research.
Awards and Recognition
- One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2016
David A. Baldwin is senior political scientist in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and the Wallach Professor of Political Science Emeritus at Columbia University. His many books include Economic Statecraft (Princeton) and Paradoxes of Power. Baldwin is the founder of the Research Committee on Political Power of the International Political Science Association.
"Baldwin provides a valuable guide for political science upper-division and graduate students for thinking about power and international politics."—Choice
"Elegantly written and presented with a strong sense of pedagogy, this volume is a valuable addition to the history of the concept of power."—Daniel C. Bach, South African Journal of International Affairs
"For the last forty-five years, David Baldwin has been one of the leading theorists of the concept of power in international relations. His many contributions are brought together in this important book. Magically, this is not old wine offered in a new bottle but a precious Spätlese that will delight all oeno- and bibliophiles."—Peter J. Katzenstein, Cornell University
"This tour de force in the study of power has been long awaited. With the analytical depth of a political philosopher and the theoretical coverage of an international relations specialist, David Baldwin skillfully weaves a rare synthesis of scholarship. This work is a true and unique gem."—Giulio Gallarotti, author of The Power Curse and Cosmopolitan Power in International Relations
"Building on decades of study, David Baldwin's analysis of power is a model of lucid, thoughtful scholarship. The concept of power is central to politics and using classic writings as his guide, Baldwin clears the way through the thickets created by previous work and the challenging nature of the subject. His book will be indispensable to theorizing about power, analyzing specific cases, and developing generalizations about international politics."—Robert Jervis, Columbia University
"This book offers a healthy warning against constructing a theory of power without first having a concept of power. David Baldwin is eminently positioned to write this brilliant analysis, which is bound to force much of the discipline to revisit core assumptions about its most important conceptual building block."—Etel Solingen, author of Nuclear Logics
"The concept of power is central to the field of international relations and David Baldwin has written a magnificent book on this topic. Power and International Relations is a tour de force that convincingly demonstrates the advantages of adopting a social power approach to the study of global affairs."—Edward Mansfield, University of Pennsylvania
"David Baldwin's Power and International Relations is the natural culmination of decades-long research and study into the concept of power and its role in world politics."—Daniel W. Drezner, Tufts University
"Power is arguably the most important concept in international relations and David Baldwin is by far power's most astute analyst. He has made many contributions to our understanding of power during his career and this book is a worthy capstone to all of his thinking on this topic."—Stephen Brooks, Dartmouth College