Social network conceptualizations of international system structure and national power: a social network perspective on international relations Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Kim, Hyung Min
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Political Science
  • The central focus of this project is on the new social network conceptualizations of international system structure and national power. This project examines two traditional questions using the social network conceptualizations: (1) how do we conceive a state's national power, and (2) how does the distribution of national powers define international system structure? The project also answers the following question by applying the above questions to the empirical phenomena of international relations: how does redefining "power" and "system" in this way contribute to a better understanding of international politics? This project argues that international system structure is more accurately depicted by considering different interaction networks participated in by all system members, and that a state's power is more accurately conceptualized by considering how it interacts with all other states in the international system of different networks. The social network conception of national power, derived from the social network conception of international system structure, is applied to two empirical phenomena, focusing on their power explanations. The empirical analyses of militarized conflicts find that: (1) at the system level, the results do not reveal any clear support for either of power theories, but (2) at the dyadic level, the results strongly support power preponderance theory over balance of power theory. The analyses of economic sanctions find that sanction cases with disproportional network power balance between sender and target are far less likely to be successful, while cases with the target possessing high network power are far more likely to be successful. The evidence from nonparametric model discrimination statistics and information criteria measures shows that the conflict and sanctions models with new structural network power measures have greater explanatory power than or statistically outperform those with old attributional power measures, such as COW index and GNP. Finally, this project provides graphical representations of international system structure and national power to show how network conceptions give a radically different view of international relations than the older scalar representations do. The graphical representations of international conflict and sanction networks also reveal that the significant majority of conflicts and sanctions are indeed regional, "connected," and "recurrent."
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  • McKeown, Timothy
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  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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