Approaches To International Relations
I. THINKING THEORETICALLY
• Historically, international activities were the results of actions taken by central governments, but
this is changing in the world of today. Increasingly, these activities involve different actors.
• International relations is the study of the interactions among the various actors that participate in
international politics, including states, international organizations, nongovernmental organizations,
subnational entities, and individuals.
• Political scientists develop theories or frameworks, both to understand the causes of events that
occur in international relations and to answer the foundational questions in the field.
• Realism posits that states exist in an anarchic international system.
o Each state bases its policies on an interpretation of national interest defined in terms of power.
o The structure of the international system is determined by the distribution of power.
• Liberalism argues that humans form states that generally cooperate and follow international norms
• Radical theory is rooted in economics: actions of individuals are determined by their social class.
• Constructivists argue that the key structures are intersubjective and social.
II. DEVELOPING THE ANSWERS
• Answers are often found in history.
o History i