International Relations Definition

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The Oxford Dictionary online (2016) defines international relations as “the way in which two or more nations interact with and regard each other, especially in the context of political, economic, or cultural relationships”. However, what to include and exclude in the definition is a controversial topic and there is still no decisive answer of what international relations means. Scholars have been suggesting various definitions, for instance, one source stated that International Relations (i.e. the study of international relations, referred to as IR) is defined as “the study of interactions among the various actors that participate in international politics including states, international organizations…and individuals” (Mingst et al. 2014: 2) …show more content…
The idea of international relations has been existing since a group of people started to live together and the sense of in-group and out-group appeared. (Wright, 1995) Even after civilization developed and changed into a form of kingdom or country, the sense of international relations was constantly there as a supportive view for war strategy, peace negotiation, trade, and so on. It was philosophers such as Aristotle, Karl Marx, and John Locke who took the role of giving the world the theory or idea of how society should work, and these ideas became the foundation of IR. However, disastrous World War One induced scholars to think that the current social system is immature and there should be deeper consideration and discussion about international relations. In fact, a huge number of literature and institutions focusing on IR have appeared since World War One. (Wright, 1995) This was the beginning of disciplinary study of international relations. Since then, IR has been successfully establishing its position in academic society, and its development has been traditionally seen as a “response to events/changes in the real world” (Brown and Ainley 2009: 19). For instance, “liberal institutionalism” appeared as a response to World War One, but soon after it was challenged and replaced by “realism”, which emerged, mainly because the former failed to explain the cause of uninterrupted aggressions by Germany, Italy and Japan. Moreover, the Cold War and the change of world systems at that time, especially the emergence of functional non-state actors such as United Nations questioned the fundamental philosophy of realism which claims that the state is the most significant actor. Due to these changes, new theories such as “neorealism” appeared (Schmidt 1998; Brown and Ainley 2009). From these historical backgrounds, it is clear that IR has

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