Rowman and Littlefield International
Causes of War

Causes of War

The Struggle for Recognition

By Thomas Lindemann

Publication Date: Sep 2010

Pages 176

ECPR Press

Paperback 9781907301018
£24.00 €33.00 $37.95

Theories on the origins of war are often based on the premise that the rational actor is in pursuit of material satisfaction, such as the quest for power or for wealth. These perspectives disregard the need for homo symbolicus – the preservation of a positive self-image for both emotional and instrumental reasons. A good reputation ensures authority and material resources. Non-recognition can be as much as an explanation of war as that of other explicative 'variables'. Two empirical studies examining the role of non-recognition in great power conflicts and in international crises will demonstrate the value of this symbolic approach.


Acknowledgements iv

List of Tables vi

Introduction 1


Chapter One: The Struggle for Recognition in Social Relations 9

Utilitarian logics 10

‘Psycho-logics’ in the quest for recognition 12

Chapter Two: The Struggle for Recognition in International Relations 15

The recognition problematic in international

relations theory 17

Hypotheses on the link between

non-recognition and war 27


Chapter Three: Losing the War, but Winning Respect? 47

The pacifi cation between great powers by respect 52

War to avoid shame? 64

Chapter Four: Saving Face and Peace; the Politics of Recognition in

International Crises 87

The Politics of Recognition in International Crises 88

Crises with a Bellicose Outcome (losing face) 97

Crises with a Pacifi c Outcome (saving face) 112

Index 159

Thomas Lindemann is Professor of Political Science at Artois University (CERAPS Lille 2) and is visiting professor at Paris I-Sorbonne and Sciences Po Paris. He has recently published Penser la guerre. L'apport constructiviste (L'Harmattan 2008) and La guerre (Armand Colin 2010) and The International Politics of Recognition (edited with Erik Ringmar for Paradigm, 2011).

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