A designed image of international relations

The Theory of International Relations is one of the central, and most important disciplines among all the humanities.


The importance of International Relations Theory is explained by the fact that the main question, which is in a very very heart of our discipline, is the question of peace and war.

Every international situation represents a choice between conflict or cooperation. In other words again peace and war. Every practical decision of politicians is a choice between conflict and cooperation, in other words, about between peace and war.
And every academic advice is a choice between conflict and cooperation.

One way of writing our academic papers or analytical papers, we always address a certain audience and we advise this audience based on our theoretical approaches. We advise these audiences to make a certain choice, and this choice is always about peace and war, conflict, and cooperation.

This makes our discipline one of the most important among all the humanities. The other reason which explains the importance of International Relations Theory is that it deals with the highest units of the human organization, the social organization, the states.

There is nothing bigger than a state in the modern world, and International Relations Theory is analyzing correlations trips between those unions that are on the very top of social organization.

But we also call International Relations Theory a science.

Why International Relations Theory Called a Science? 

As it is widely known that in the broadest sense, science is any systematic knowledge that is capable of resulting in the correct prediction or reliable outcome.

International Relations Science focuses on a certain field of social relationships, as they have said, the highest field of social relationships, relationships between nations and states.

A scientific method seeks to explain the events of nature in a reproducible way and to use these findings to make useful predictions that can be later implemented and used by the policymakers and other practitioners. Scientific thinking is one of the ways to find answers, besides, of course, practical thinking, professional thinking, religious thinking, ideological thinking.

Scientific thinking represents a very very special approach and it revolves around the creation of a grand concept to explain very general patterns of social activities and theory.

In a scientific sense, theory means a general set of propositions.

These propositions allow us to generalize, thus, provide an explanation, establishing a causal relationship between the variable, serving as a sort of explanatory concept or a source of ways of evaluating the point we use well-meaning of such concepts – Austin Harrington, Modern Social Theory: An Introduction.

International Relations Theory aims to find special patterns and explain the highest level of social interaction, relationships between sovereign states.

What is the field of International Relations Theory? 

Theorists discuss it from the very beginnings of our science as an academic discipline one hundred years ago, there is a big discussion on what we define, what is the subject with which the International Relations Theory is dealing.

Some theories define International Relations very narrowly. They define it as simply relations between units states in the international system.

Some theories are more inclusive in terms of both actors, units, states, other actors and relations, what the Internationalist theory is analyzing, we’re sort of the relationships.

Those theories are also theories that also focused on inter-state, inter-society, and state-society relations.

And while during our course, we will look at the different theoretical paradigms, the different theories. We will see that each of them is choosing the most important actors, sort of forms of relations. Each of them focuses on the special inter-state, inter-society, or state-society relations, and for each theory, the special relationship is the most important.

For example, for the realists, there is no question about which sort of relations is most important, the relations between the states. But for the Liberal Theory of International Relations (IR), the most important relations are not within the states but between the society and the states, and the internal politics are directly influencing the foreign policy of any country.

For the Marxist Theory and the other theories derived from the Marxist school, the most important relations are not between the states, but between the social classes. But also some theories include it into the International Relations Theory into original relations, and also relations between states, international organizations, or economic relations, this approach of a special use nowadays when the number of the international organization has been growing for nearly a century, and the economic relations, economic factors become more and more important in how the relationship between the states establish and how they developed.

There are two general traditions within the theory of International Relations because there is no general or joint International Relations Theory.

The two traditions are finding their roots in the very very beginnings of human civilization.

The first is called ancient, a classical tradition. And because of its name, we see that it is derived from the theories, from ideas and the philosophy of the Ancient Greeks. This tradition assumes that the logic of international politics is driven by human nature. And what is most important, this approach thinks that human nature is unchangeable.

This approach thinks that human nature has been always not good, that people have been always trying to maximize their benefits at the expense of the other people. And this consequently makes the conflict the normal state operations between people and as a normal state of relationships between the states. See, International Relations.

Those who belonged to the ancient or classic tradition, those who belong to the theories, which are derived from the ancient or classic tradition, believe that there is no way to advance the nature of global politics in any fundamental way, nor to bring eternal peace.

Another tradition is much more optimistic. It finds its roots in the Christian tradition in the Bible and the Christian philosophy, but also in the other monotheistic religions. It is leaner, meaning that is trying to achieve a certain point or perfectness and when it achieves a certain point of perfectness, the relations between people and between the states are going to be just peaceful and calm.

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