2. concepts. INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS: CONCEPTUAL ISSUES IR is the study of how the world works, the study is not only restricted to states. Individuals are also of paramount importance. States decides as to who gets what, when and how. 2.1.
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Since the field of IR embodies a great deal of works no single definition will encompass all of the work presented as a contribution to the study of the discipline. However distinguishing the core and the relevant scope of definition can provide a working definition.
According to Wright such definitions must reflect both the condition and the study of that condition i.e. the international system and the interactions within it. The discipline is concerned with relations between national boundaries and within nations.
According to Portique “as a field of inquiry IR studies the distribution of power on a global scale and the interplay between and among power centers”. The definition analyzes power, which encompasses the entire range of man’s influence i.e. the ability of actors to exert or the actual exertion of influence and control over or action over other actors.
There is definition of power it relates to everyone in contact with others, possesses some ability to influence others. There is diffusion of power on global scale, groups exit that have joint activities, such group power can be organized in a given territory through sovereign government. NATO, FIVE-POWER DEFENCE ARRANGEMENT…
International system therefore have power globally distributed sovereign states.
Spykman 1933 defined international relations “as relations between individuals belonging to different states…international behavior is a social behavior of individual or groups aimed at …or influenced by the existence or behavior of individuals or groups belonging to a different state”
Loosely defined IR also encompass many different activities- international communication, business transactions, athletes contests, tourism, scientific conferences, educational exchange programs and religious missionary activities.
It is important to realize that IR scholars have never agreed where the boundaries of the field lie.
The interaction of states takes place in a multi-state system. However there are other non state actors in the international system (individuals,NGOS, INGOS,Al Queda, MNCS/TNCS.The relevance of such non-state actors to the case of IR varies according to the extent upon the environment in intergovernmental relations and upon power policies of government and sovereign states such as in normal politics.
IR deals with human behavior attempts to explain totality of human interaction. State is static in terms of occupying geographical position. The safeties of states rely on the behavior of the state in IR.
The development of nation state in the 18th century particularly after Westafalia treaty when there was recognition of the state system particularly in Western Europe led to the interest in IR.
Much of the writings were on military thought, strategic studies to some extent international law and diplomacy. Important to notes that there was interstate relationship and recognition of sovereignty of different states.
The WW1 and others before had demonstrated the capacity of man ‘s destruction. To this arose the need to study war and ways to prevent it. US universities introduced the subject of IR to seek a greater understanding of causes of conflict and find ways of handling it so as to find ways of achieving a peaceful world.
There begun to be a systematic analysis of IR but however this post world war period was dominated by nationalist approach to IR. Internationalist appealed to the rational and moral being to end war and have peace.
Such views were propounded by people like Woodrow Wilson who was of the idea that the nationalist had led to the war and had to undertake a thought of things to eliminate war.
- However, it must be noted that each appeals by internationalist schools forgot to examine why states behave the way they did. This was evidenced by the collapse of the League of Nations with the outbreak of WW2.