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Before the StateSystemic Political Change in the West from the Greeks to the French Revolution$
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Andreas Osiander

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780198294511

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198294511.001.0001

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Conclusion

Conclusion

Chapter:
(p.495) 5 Conclusion
Source:
Before the State
Author(s):

Andreas Osiander

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198294511.003.0005

The final chapter provides a general overview, in light of the findings of this study, of the manifestations and causes of systemic structural change in the history of western civilization. It argues that since the structural evolution of the western political system at large has consistently shown a path-dependent succession of unrepeatable stages, rather than variations on the underlying theme of the ‘state’, there can be no ‘grand theory’ of international relations or political systems in general: the search for nomothetic political theory, for timeless patterns in the historical record, is doomed to failure. Whatever their worth, present-day theory, such as Realism in International Relations, cannot validly invoke history as corroboration, nor offer predictions about the future.

Keywords:   systemic structural change, path-dependency, grand theory, nomothetic theory, Realism

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