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date: 25 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines a body of theories – realism, intergovernmentalism, liberal intergovernmentalism, and rational-choice institutionalism – that together represent a distinctive family of approaches to the study of the EU. It argues that the relationship among realist, intergovernmentalist, and rational-choice institutionalist theories is one of theme and variation, with the core themes being the interactions of rational, self-interested states under anarchy; and the variation consisting in assumptions about the nature of state preferences, the severity of the security dilemma, and the role of international institutions in EU and world politics.

Keywords: realism, liberal intergovernmentalism, rational-choice institutionalism, EU, international relations

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