What does international relations theory tell us about territorial disputes and their resolution?

Jong Kun Choi, Yong Soo Eun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article explores the conditions under which territorial disputes are likely to lead to major armed conflicts and considers mechanisms through which territorial disputes can be resolved. In doing so, it attempts to discover the insights and suggestions that the competing major IR theories, namely neorealism, neoliberalism, and conventional constructivism, can offer. Several pathways through which to address territorial disputes are provided from the perspectives of these IR theories. In addition, the article discusses how each pathway can be employed in practice in addressing territorial disputes. In conclusion, we point out the complex and multifaceted nature of disputes over territory, arguing that their resolution calls for a synthetic interactive approach based on a combination of the values of two IR theories, liberalism and constructivism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-159
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Politics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Mar 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations

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