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State Personhood, Reality or Fiction? The Divergent Views of C. Escudé (1994) and A. Wendt (2004)

Carlos Escudé ()

No 438, CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. from Universidad del CEMA

Abstract: This paper counterpoises Carlos Escudé's 1994, 1995 and 1997 treatment of anthropomorphic metaphors of the state, with Alexander Wendt's 2004 treatment of the same subject. It stresses the need for a historical memory in IR scholarship, suggesting that the lack of an epistemological equivalent to the concept of ‘discovery’ in the harder sciences may open the way for less-than-scholarly attitudes towards precedents, making the accumulation of knowledge less likely. It discusses whether or not state personhood is actually a fiction. Finally, it explores the consequences, for IR theory in general and peripheral realist theory in particular, of state personhood being indeed a harmful fiction. The author argues that if anthropomorphisms of the state lead to fallacy, then Hedley Bull’s domestic analogy is likewise fallacious. And if this is the case, the hierarchy of the structure of the interstate system is exposed, together with Waltz’s error in postulating an anarchy.

Date: 2010-11
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