Machiavelli’s Walls: The Legacy of Realism in International Relations Theory

Jackson, M. and Moore, T. 2016. Machiavelli’s Walls: The Legacy of Realism in International Relations Theory. International Politics. 53 (4), pp. 447-465.

TitleMachiavelli’s Walls: The Legacy of Realism in International Relations Theory
AuthorsJackson, M. and Moore, T.
Abstract

In this paper we argue that Niccolò Machiavelli has little to do with Realism in International Relations theory. By concentrating, as Machaivelli did, on the walls that define political relations—both inside and outside the polity—we find his insights deeply rooted in the specific political contexts of Sixteenth century Italy. Others may wish to generalize from them, but Machiavelli did not. In fact, as we show, Machiavelli was mindful of the difficulties of generalizing about walls and acknowledged the dangers political actors faced in navigating between the internal and external walls of the polity. We examine the geopolitical contours of Machiavelli’s walls and seek to demonstrate how morality is present in these historical spaces. In contrast to Realists, Machiavelli was ready and willing to make ethical judgments. We argue that theorists of international politics should exercise care in reaching for Machiavelli as the iconic thinker for making sense of anarchy in world politics. This article concludes by suggesting that the ideology of Machiavellianism has obscured deeper understanding of the particular contexts of Machiavelli’s own world.

KeywordsMachiavelli, International relations theory, Realism
JournalInternational Politics
Journal citation53 (4), pp. 447-465
ISSN1384-5748
Year2016
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Accepted author manuscriptMoore and Jackson Final (Machiavelli).pdf
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1057/ip.2016.9
Publication dates
Published24 Jun 2016

Related outputs

On the Theopolitics of Sovereignty: Carl Schmitt and the theopolitics of global orders
Moore, T. 2019. On the Theopolitics of Sovereignty: Carl Schmitt and the theopolitics of global orders. Review of International Studies.

Saving friends or saving strangers? Critical humanitarianism and the geopolitics of international law
Moore, T. 2013. Saving friends or saving strangers? Critical humanitarianism and the geopolitics of international law. Review of International Studies. 39 (4), pp. 925-947.

International relations as juridical life: rethinking ‘the international’ in international theory
Moore, T. 2013. International relations as juridical life: rethinking ‘the international’ in international theory. Global Society. 27 (4), pp. 421-437.

Citizens into wolves? Carl Schmitt’s fictive account of security
Moore, T. 2011. Citizens into wolves? Carl Schmitt’s fictive account of security. Cooperation and Conflict. 46 (4), pp. 502-520.

An Australian approach to ethical warfare? Australia and the 'war on terror'
Moore, T. 2011. An Australian approach to ethical warfare? Australia and the 'war on terror'. in: Phythian, M. and Bergmann-Rosamond, A. (ed.) War, ethics and justice: new perspectives on a post-9/11 world London Routledge. pp. 39-54

The paradox of the political: Carl Schmitt's autonomous account of politics
Moore, T. 2010. The paradox of the political: Carl Schmitt's autonomous account of politics. The European Legacy. 15 (6), pp. 721-734.

Book review: Carl Schmitt's international thought: order and orientation. By William Hooker
Moore, T. 2010. Book review: Carl Schmitt's international thought: order and orientation. By William Hooker. International Affairs. 86 (5), pp. 1212-1213.

Intervention, statebuilding and security: interview with Lord Robertson
Hehir, A. and Moore, T. 2009. Intervention, statebuilding and security: interview with Lord Robertson. Journal of Intervention and State Building. 3 (2), pp. 259-275.

Permalink - https://westminsterresearch.westminster.ac.uk/item/9w4v1/machiavelli-s-walls-the-legacy-of-realism-in-international-relations-theory


Share this
Tweet
Email