Between the conceptual and the methodological
This chapter addresses the vast body of research on structural, systemic, and even reductionist studies of polarity, hegemony, and superpowers primarily revolves around four distinct modes of analysis. The first mode relies on the tenets of neorealism, addressing state behavior in relation to the system and how the structure of the system shapes and predicts behavior. The second mode of analysis addresses the post-Cold War unipolar structure, either suggesting the coherence and durability of this system, or its inevitable instability and decay. The third mode of analysis reconceptualizes the Global Political System as evolved and distinct from the previous systems, thus deeming American unipolarity as liberal, constitutionalist, and therefore, consistent with peace and longevity. The fourth mode of analysis is primarily reductionist, addressing the internal dynamics and characteristics of system-wide actors. A four-tiered methodological approach and the research objective are to conceptualize, test, and analyze the power configurations of various world political systems.