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Democratic Peace Research: Whence and Whither?

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The democratic peace has become a topic about which every IR scholar must hold an opinion. Empirical and theoretical scepticism about the peace endures, but the consensus seems to be that it is real and only needs explaining. Predictably, rationalists and constructivists, broadly defined, differ on what causes the peace: rationalists now emphasize how democracies reveal more information; constructivists, how they adhere to distinctive norms. Although strictly speaking, the democratic peace does not constitute a Lakatosian research programme, a ‘democratic distinctiveness’ programme has emerged, whose core includes the proposition that relations among democracies are qualitatively different from those among non-democracies or between democracies and non-democracies. Future research should focus on the conditions under which the international system selects for democracy; the links between democratic peace and international power, especially US hegemony; and what democratic peace and European integration can tell us about one another.International Politics (2004) 41, 605–617. doi:10.1057/palgrave.ip.8800096
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: aWoodrow Wilson Department of Politics, University of Virginia, PO Box 400787, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4787, USA., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 01 December 2004

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