International Relations is a highly theoretical approach to global politics. In general, it revolves around the continuing dialogue between (broadly considered) Realist and Idealist approaches to both predicting war and seeking peace. The main focus of this eBook is to provide a brief introduction to the main theories, concepts and approaches to global politics. It is written for the college student dealing with these ideas for the first time. This book is structured by listing the two overarching theories first, then, once the general idea becomes clear, to introduce the other conceptual players in the field. The book, in other words, goes from most general to most specific.
This book is ideal for students of Political Science, Sociology or Economics at the College or University Level.
International Relations (IR) is the systematic study of how power is used and understood in the global political arena. Primarily, the field is about how national governments and non-state actors, though a judicious use of power and force, shape what is called the international or global order. The field deals with power, interest, balance and force, all defined relative to the basic theoretical approach. Without grasping the basic theories that are applied to global politics, the motivations and methods of states make little sense.
Concepts like peace or order are not agreed upon, and each school of thought will define these differently. The definitions of these terms lie at the root of different approaches to IR. In the most general terms, IR is about predicting war, and attempting to ensure the peace. Understanding IR is about grasping the main actors and ideas that shape global politics.