Martin Wight is one of the father of international society theory, and founder of English School. Wight has three books; power politics, system of states and three traditions. He classified international relations theories as realism, revolutianism and rationalism. Hedley Bull renamed these traditions. Bull bases on analysis of Wight’s three traditions his own instituation. ‘ Realism is called Machievellianism-Hobbesian, Revolutianism is called Kantianism ,and lastly Rationalism is called Grotianism. International society term is analysed within the frame of Bull’s anarchial society and Wight’s three traditions. English school is founded from differences between three traditions. According to English school, structure of international relations is a anarchial structure that of act of state and non-state. Anarchial structure do not only determine centre feature of international relations, especially for Bull and Wight, it is a criterion for classification of tradition ,so it is also point of begining for institutionalizing of discipline. Basic subject of IR is formed three differences political conditions by Martin Wight. Such as, international anarchy, diplomacy and trade ,and states society thought. Three traditions in international relations theory determine his own position according to these three situations. Three traditions is defined these political conditions.

          Firstly, Realism or  Machievellianism/Hobbesianism – which says there is no international society, just power politics in international relations, where the pursuit of power is the aim of states. Realism establishes analogy with domestic policy. Relationship between states is defined state of nature or state of war by Realists. For the Machievellians, who included such figures as Hegel,Hobbes etc.. the true description of international politics was that it was international anarchy, a war of al lor relationship of pure conflict among the sovereign states. –to the central question of the theory of international relations- ‘what is the nature of ınternational society?’. The Machievellians give the answer ; there is no international society ; what purports to be international society. The of international law ,the mechanism of diplomacy is fictitious. For them, anarchy condition of international relations do not allage to end with a social contract, truth definition of international relations is anarchy of international in this tradition. Realists are explained by Hobbes’ state of nature/social contract. Nevertheless, it was for each states or ruler to pursue its own intrest.

Secondly, Rationalism or Grotianism(after Hugo Grotius) – which says there is international society, and that international law, diplomacy, the laws of war, the idea of balance of power etc.. , are expressions of an underlying set of common norms and cultural values. For the Grotians, among whom Wight included the classical international lawyers, Locke, Burke, Castlereagh etc.. For rationalism, sovereign states are aware of depending each other because of certain aims. International Politics had to be described not as international anarchy but as international intercourse, a relationship chiefly amog states to be sure, but one in which there was not only conflict but also cooperation the Grotians give above the question. They returned the answer that states, although not subject to a common superior ; nevertheless formed a society that was no finction. The prescription of the Grotians was that states were bound by the rules of this international society.

Thirdly, Revolutianism or Kantianism – which says that the int system and independent sovereign states must be replaced by a federal World-state, which will allow justice to flourish. They assert that, international anarchy condition is ended ,but they received that, consituent factor of international relations has anarchial structure. The Kantianism rejected both the Machievellian view that international politics was about conflict states, and the view of the Grotians that it was about mixture of conflict and cooperation among states. The Kantians like the Grotians, appealed to international morality, but the revolutionary imperatives that required all men to work for human brotherhood. States that was member of international society ,and independent political instituations that have rights and obligations.

To sum up, three traditions is predicated English School by Martin Wight and Hedley Bull. In the Grotianism, founder member of int society are sovereign independent political instituations, nevertheless states. Hobbes’ state of war competes with Kant’s revolutianism. Accordingly, international society is inverting,transforming and disappearing historical structures.

        Yusuf Taner KILAVUZ  


Martin Wight : Four Seminal Thinkers in IR, Martin Wight’s Three Tradition’s Review

Martin Wight :  International Theory to Martin Wight Three Tradition , International system and third image

Leicester University Press, Martin Wight’s Three Tradition Critique and İdeas

Cambridge University Press , Mythology or Methodology? , Tim Dunne , Traditions in International Theory and Three Traditions Review

International Theory, Paul Viotti 5th edition, Realism and Neorealizm and English School

Suleyman ELIK (phd) ‘s lecture notes, Medeniyet University

Volkan SEYSANE, Yalova University, İki Savaş Arası Dönemde Uluslararası Toplum ve Çatışma : İngiliz Okulu Perspektifinden Mançurya Krizini anlamak , Martin Wight’ın 3 Gelenek Kuramı 

Prof. Ian HALL, Griffith University , His Ideas about Martin Wight and His Article and Books

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Yusuf Taner KILAVUZ

Istanbul Medeniyet University, Faculty of Political Science, Department of International Relations. [email protected]


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