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INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Introduction, Meaning & Significance of the Study


of IR
WHAT IS INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS (IR)?

• International relations is the study of relationships between


countries, including the roles of States and non-state actors.
• International Relations (IR) deals with issues like sovereignty,
environmentalism, development and human rights in the context of
global affairs and is also concerned with the policies of individual
states as far as they impact on the affairs of other states.
DEFINITIONS OF IR

• International relations attempts to explain the interactions of states in the


global interstate system, and it also attempts to explain the interactions of
others whose behavior originates within one country and is targeted
toward members of other countries.
• The study of international relations is an attempt to explain behavior that
occurs across the boundaries of states, the broader relationships of which
such behavior is a part, and the institutions (private, state,
nongovernmental, and intergovernmental) that oversee those interactions.
DEFINITIONS OF IR

• The term is also used to refer to “a branch of Political Science


which focuses on the study of international interactions.”
• As an academic discipline, international relations
encompasses a wide range of academic fields, ranging from
history to environmental studies, and there are a number of
areas of specific specialty, for academics who are interested
in them.
SCOPE OF IR

• International Relations is inter-disciplinary & multi-


disciplinary which include Politics, Economics, Sociology,
Anthropology, Technology, International Law and Foreign
policy.
➢Synthetic Discipline
➢Public Policy Field
➢Focus is Countries, Regions, Institutions and Processes
➢Study of the Subject is as fragmented as World Politics
it self
SCOPE OF IR

• International Relations as a field of study covers


➢The factors and processes that affect the interactions among
states and non-state actors
➢The study of conflict and cooperation by international actors
➢The development and testing of hypotheses about international
outcomes.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY OF IR

• The concept of international relations on some level is probably quite old,


given that humans have been establishing governments and communicating
with each other for thousands of years.
• The main reason why we should study IR is the fact that the entire
population of the world is living in independent states. Together, those
states form a global state system.
• The purpose of the study of IR is to deepen knowledge and understanding
of one of the most powerful forces operating on people, communities and
corporations today.
States are the most important actors in IR:
international system is based on the sovereignty of
about 200 independent territorial states of varying
size – UNO

WHAT IS A STATE?
A state is comprised of these elements:
– Sovereignty – Geography
– Government – Population
VIEWS OF STATE

TRADITIONAL VIEW ALTERNATIVE VIEW


• States are valuable • States and the state
institutions: they provide system create more
security, freedom, order, problems than they solve.
justice and welfare. • The majority of the world’s
• People benefit from the people suffer more than
state system they benefit from the state
system
Non-state actors have a growing influence on
International Relations.

WHAT ARE NON-STATE ACTORS?


Anything and everything that impacts state behavior:
– INDIVIDUALS – NGOS
– GROUPS – IGOS
– MNCS – TERRORISTS
LIMITATIONS OF IR

• International relations refers to the collective interactions of the


international community, which includes individual nations and states,
inter-governmental organizations such as the United Nations, non-
governmental organizations like Doctors Without Borders, multinational
corporations like Coca Cola and so forth.
• The study of International Relations enables us to explain why
international events occur in the manner in which they do and gives us
a greater understanding of world in which we live and work.
LIMITATIONS OF IR

• International Relations is not just a field of academic study, we all participate in


and contribute to International Relations on a daily basis. Every time we watch
the news, vote in an election, buy or boycott goods from the supermarket,
recycle our bottles, we are participating in International Relations.
• IR has a significant impact on our lives. With improvements in communications
and transport technology, we are constantly coming into contact with people,
places, products, opportunities and ideas from other countries. The decisions
we make in our daily lives have an effect, however small, on the world in which
we live.

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