A Realist Stable Peace : Power, Threat and the Development of a Shared Norwegian-Swedish Democratic Security Identity 1905-1940

Abstract: This study concerns the development of Stable Peace between states in the modern anarchical international system. As a starting point for the inquiry the author argues that the prevalence of this type of interstate relationships—characterized by the mutual expectations that neither military violence nor threats thereof will be employed—may be seen as a fundamental challenge to the validity of prevailing Realist perpectives on contemporary IR. In the course of the dissertation the author argues that Democratic Peace theory and its notion of shared security identities offers an avenue to investigate and account for the development of Stable Peace. As the Democratic Peace refers to the unit level as the source of explanation, and also suggests that normative considerations may override considerations of power, this compounds the challenge to Realist conceptions of IR. However, in objection to the proposition that democracy has contextually independent effects engendering Stable Peace, the author suggests that contemporary Stable Peace ought to be understood as a significant historical development and that explanation of this phenomenon can not be reduced to probabilistic generalizations, no matter how robust these may seem. Attention to historical context, moreover, shows that concerns of relative power distribution among egoistic actors in an anarchic environment may be important conditionalizing factors for the ability of also democratic states to enjoy a relationship of Stable Peace. Based on his study of Norwegian-Swedish relations 1905-1940, the author therefore concludes that Realism continues to be relevant also to an understanding of the nature of contemporary Stable and Democratic Peace.

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