chapter  2
15 Pages

Human nature and world politics: ecce Hayward Alker’s homo politicus as homo humanitatis

Categorical statements about human nature among international relations theorists, foreign policy decision makers, and pundits, often trump arguments that might be seen as optimistic or even visionary. It is assumed that humans naturally are as they are (aggressive, power-seeking, greedy, fearful), and little can be done about it. J. Ann Tickner has rightly described this image as both shaping our perceptions of world politics and as “partial”, and as privileging masculinity (Tickner 1988). Tickner suggests that if the ways we describe reality have an effect on how we perceive and act, then new perspectives on human nature might give us new ways to act in the world.