Understanding Tragedy and Understanding International Relations

Toni Erskine, Richard Ned Lebow

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    Tragedy is one of the oldest conceptual lenses of Western culture. Indeed, it would not be an exaggeration to say that tragedy is constitutive of Western culture itself. Writing more than two millennia ago, Thucydides thought that tragedy was an appropriate lens through which to view international relations.1 We interrogate this assumption. Does tragedy offer a plausible framework for examining international relations? If so, in what ways can the concept of tragedy revealed in ancient Greek, Shakespearean, and later dramas inform and enrich our understanding of international relations today? And, perhaps most importantly, if the lens of tragedy does illuminate aspects of international relations for us, can this knowledge enhance our chances of avoiding or reducing tragic outcomes in the future? The contributors to this volume by no means agree on the answers to these questions. We do, however, agree that these are crucial points of enquiry.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationTragedy and International Relations
    Editors Toni Erskine and Richard Ned Lebow
    Place of PublicationNew York
    PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
    ISBN (Print)978-0-230-23752-0
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


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