An examination of three approaches to the study of the politics of interdependence

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Virginia Tech

This thesis examines three approaches to the study of the politics of interdependence: realism, holism, and the state-based approach. To facilitate this analysis effort will be directed into three areas. First, the definitional clarity of each theory will be examined to determine if the concept of interdependence and related notions have been fully developed. Definitional clarity is of critical importance before any attempt can be made at applying the concepts. Secondly, the individual ability of each theory to explain the manifestations of conditions of interdependence will be examined. Finally, the specific relationship between the United States and Canada will be examined within the auspices of each approach to determine the ability of each to provide useful insight into the politics within this relationship. From this, it will be demonstrated that the state-based approach, with its concentration on the examination of bilateral relationships and the employment of an extreme method of disaggregation, is by far the most appropriate method to study conditions of interdependence.