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This chapter provides an overview of the literature on alliances. It discusses the classical scholarship dealing with the formation of alliances and their impact on the international system, but also assesses trending debates on the relationship between alliances and, on the one hand, the maintenance of international order, and on the other, the nature of multinational military interventions. The study of alliances has traditionally focused on states and war, with alliances being a tool with which the former could manage the latter. In recent years, the field has widened, taking into account alliances’ evolving and contested relationship to both broader collective security institutions and narrower and supposedly more effective coalitions. As they change in character, alliances will continuously define the frontier between cooperation and conflict and be of central concern to security studies scholars.

alliances, coalitions, multinational military interventions, security cooperation, collective security, international order, NATO
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of International Security
EditorsAlexandra Gheciu, William C Wohlforth
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication date2018
ISBN (Print)9780198777854
ISBN (Electronic)9780191083587
Publication statusPublished - 2018
SeriesOxford Handbooks of International Relations

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