Introduction to International Relations: Foundations and Concepts - ANU
International relations definition is - a branch of political science concerned with relations between nations and primarily with foreign policies. discipline of international relations often attribute multiple mean- concept of " system," so that it will not become a term shedding more smoke than light on the . 3 Basic Concepts STATE AS AN ACTOR IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS The concept of 'state' is very important in the study of International Relations (IR).
Individual level analysis views the leaders of states as being the largest influencers of foreign policy. Examining the Theories of International Relations The study of international relations involves theoretical approaches based on solid evidence.
Theories of international relations are essentially a set of ideas aimed at explaining how the international system works. The two, major theories of international relations are realism and liberalism: Realism Realism focuses on the notion that states work to increase their own power relative to other states. The theory of realism states that the only certainty in the world is power; therefore, a powerful state—via military power the most important and reliable form of power —will always be able to outlast its weaker competitors.
Self-preservation is a major theme in realism, as states must always seek power to protect themselves. In realism, the international system drives states to use military force. Although leaders may be moral, they must not let morality guide their foreign policy.
Furthermore, realism recognizes that international organizations and law have no power and force, and that their existence relies solely on being recognized and accepted by select states. Liberalism Idealism Liberalism recognizes that states share broad ties, thus making it difficult to define singular independent national interests. Their emphasis on the "critical" component of theory was derived significantly from their attempt to overcome the limits of positivism.
Modern-day proponents such as Andrew LinklaterRobert W. Cox and Ken Booth focus on the need for human emancipation from the nation-state.
Hence, it is "critical" of mainstream IR theories that tend to be both positivist and state-centric. Further linked in with Marxist theories is dependency theory and the core—periphery modelwhich argue that developed countries, in their pursuit of power, appropriate developing states through international banking, security and trade agreements and unions on a formal level, and do so through the interaction of political and financial advisors, missionaries, relief aid workers, and MNCs on the informal level, in order to integrate them into the capitalist system, strategically appropriating undervalued natural resources and labor hours and fostering economic and political dependence.
Marxist theories receive little attention in the United States. It is more common in parts of Europe and is one of the more important theoretic contributions of Latin American academia to the study of global networks.
Examples of interest groups include political lobbyiststhe military, and the corporate sector. Group theory argues that although these interest groups are constitutive of the state, they are also causal forces in the exercise of state power.
Strategic perspective[ edit ] Strategic perspective is a theoretical[ citation needed ] approach that views individuals as choosing their actions by taking into account the anticipated actions and responses of others with the intention of maximizing their own welfare.
Inherent bad faith model[ edit ] Further information: Bad faith and inherent bad faith model The " inherent bad faith model " of information processing is a theory in political psychology that was first put forth by Ole Holsti to explain the relationship between John Foster Dulles ' beliefs and his model of information processing.
They are dismissed as propaganda ploys or signs of weakness. Post-structuralism explores the deconstruction of concepts traditionally not problematic in IR such as "power" and "agency" and examines how the construction of these concepts shapes international relations.
The examination of "narratives" plays an important part in poststructuralist analysis; for example, feminist poststructuralist work has examined the role that "women" play in global society and how they are constructed in war as "innocent" and "civilians". See also feminism in international relations.
Chapter 3 Basic Concepts - International Relations Today [Book]
Rosenberg's article "Why is there no International Historical Sociology"  was a key text in the evolution of this strand of international relations theory. Post-structuralism has garnered both significant praise and criticism, with its critics arguing that post-structuralist research often fails to address the real-world problems that international relations studies is supposed to contribute to solving. Levels of analysis[ edit ] Systemic level concepts[ edit ] International relations are often viewed in terms of levels of analysis.
The systemic level concepts are those broad concepts that define and shape an international milieu, characterized by anarchy.
What is International Relations?
Focusing on the systemic level of international relations is often, but not always, the preferred method for neo-realists and other structuralist IR analysts. Westphalian sovereignty Preceding the concepts of interdependence and dependence, international relations relies on the idea of sovereignty. Described in Jean Bodin 's "Six Books of the Commonwealth" inthe three pivotal points derived from the book describe sovereignty as being a state, that the sovereign power s have absolute power over their territories, and that such a power is only limited by the sovereign's "own obligations towards other sovereigns and individuals".
While throughout world history there have been instances of groups lacking or losing sovereignty, such as African nations prior to Decolonization or the occupation of Iraq during the Iraq Warthere is still a need for sovereignty in terms of assessing international relations. Power international relations The concept of Power in international relations can be described as the degree of resources, capabilities, and influence in international affairs.
It is often divided up into the concepts of hard power and soft powerhard power relating primarily to coercive power, such as the use of force, and soft power commonly covering economicsdiplomacy and cultural influence.
However, there is no clear dividing line between the two forms of power. National interest[ edit ] Perhaps the most significant concept behind that of power and sovereignty, national interest is a state's action in relation to other states where it seeks to gain advantage or benefits to itself.
Core or vital interests constitute the things which a country is willing to defend or expand with conflict such as territory, ideology religious, political, economicor its citizens.
Peripheral or non-vital are interests which a state is willing to compromise. For example, in the German annexation of the Sudetenland in a part of Czechoslovakia under the Munich AgreementCzechoslovakia was willing to relinquish territory which was considered ethnically German in order to preserve its own integrity and sovereignty. Rather, it is the presence of non-state actors, who autonomously act to implement unpredictable behaviour to the international system.
Whether it is transnational corporationsliberation movementsnon-governmental agenciesor international organizationsthese entities have the potential to significantly influence the outcome of any international transaction.
Additionally, this also includes the individual person as while the individual is what constitutes the states collective entity, the individual does have the potential to also create unpredicted behaviours. Al-Qaedaas an example of a non-state actor, has significantly influenced the way states and non-state actors conduct international affairs. During the Cold Warthe alignment of several nations to one side or another based on ideological differences or national interests has become an endemic feature of international relations.
Unlike prior, shorter-term blocs, the Western and Soviet blocs sought to spread their national ideological differences to other nations. Truman under the Truman Doctrine believed it was necessary to spread democracy whereas the Warsaw Pact under Soviet policy sought to spread communism. After the Cold War, and the dissolution of the ideologically homogeneous Eastern bloc still gave rise to others such as the South-South Cooperation movement.
Polarity international relations Polarity in international relations refers to the arrangement of power within the international system. The concept arose from bipolarity during the Cold Warwith the international system dominated by the conflict between two superpowersand has been applied retrospectively by theorists.
However, the term bipolar was notably used by Stalin who said he saw the international system as a bipolar one with two opposing powerbases and ideologies. Consequently, the international system prior to can be described as multipolar, with power being shared among Great powers.
Empires of the world in The collapse of the Soviet Union in had led to unipolarity, with the United States as a sole superpower, although many refuse to acknowledge the fact.