A theoretical perspective on northern cooperation in Africa

Theresa Callan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


It is a commonplace to remark upon the relative under-theorisation of Northern state relations with Africa within International Relations (IR). This chapter introduces a theoretical framework which should help to shed light on these relations and which will be used, explicitly or more obliquely, within each chapter of this book. It identifies and critically discusses contending theories which purport to explain why states and non-state actors behave as they do on the international stage. Next, this chapter draws attention to the key debates between different theories of, and approaches to, International Relations so that the genesis of neoclassical realism may be understood. It then introduces and explains the key contentions and propositions of neoclassical realism. It places the latter within the realist tradition and explains how it is one of the more recent variants of realism to emerge. It distinguishes this form of realism from both its classical and structural antecedents, and focuses on the key arguments it makes concerning state behaviours in general and foreign policy-making in particular. It ends by using neoclassical realism to anticipate some of the book’s later findings regarding Northern cooperation in Africa.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFrom rivalry to partnership?: new approaches to the challenges of Africa
EditorsTony Chafer, G. Cumming
Place of PublicationFarnham
PublisherAshgate Publishing Limited
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9781409405184
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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