The Second Image Reversed: The International Sources of Domestic Politics Peter Gourevitch International Organization, Vol. 32, No. 4. (Autumn, 1978), pp. 881-912.
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The second image reversed: the international sources of domestic politics
Is the traditional distinction between international relations and domestic politics dead? Perhaps. Asking the question presupposes that it once fit reality, which isdubious. Nonetheless, the two branches of political science have at the very least differing sensibilities. Each may look at the same subject matter without asking the same questions. The international relations specialist wants to explain foreign policy and international politics. He cares about the domestic system insofar as it is useful for that purpose. He may, if dissatisfied with pureinternational system explanations, make his own exploration into domestic politics, a voyage which can frequently bring back discoveries (such as Allison's Essence of Decision1) most useful to the comparativists. Still, the ultimate goal of the trip remains the understanding of international dynamics. Domestic structure for the "I.R." person is an independent or intervening variable and sometimes anirrelevant one.' Most of the literature concerned with the interaction of the international system and domestic structure is authored by writers with international concerns, and that literature therefore primarily looks at the arrows that flow from domestic structure toward international relations. A comparativist often seeks to explain the nature of the domestic structure: why it is as it is, how itgot that way, why one structure differs from another, how it affects various aspects of life, such as health, housing, income distribution, economic growth and so on. To answer such questions, the international system may
The author wishes to acknowledge the assistance of David Bloom, Lisa Hirschman, Stanley Hoffmann, Miles Kahler, Peter Katzenstein, James Kurth, Janice Stein, and the editors ofInternational Organization. 'Graham Allison, Essence of Decision (Boston: Little Brown, 1971). 2Kenneth Waltz, "Theory of International Relations," in Fred Greenstein and Nelson Polsby, eds., Handbook of Political Science: International Relations (Menlo Park: Addison-Wesley, 1975), vol. 8, pp. 1-86.
International Organization 32,4, Autumn 1978 0020-818317810004-088 1 $01.0010 @ 1978 by theRegents of the University of Wisconsin System
itself become an explanatory variable. Instead of being a cause of international politics, domestic structure may be a consequence of it. International systems, too, become causes instead of consequences. Like others working in these fields, I am interested in the questions posed by both sensibilities. In this...
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