Politics International Relations Analysis of Theories the Essay

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International Relations

Analysis of Theories

The field of international relations is based on many competing and complementary theories. These include realism, liberalism, constructivism, dependency theory, Marxism, etc. The theories are many; the field is expansive. What international relations seek to do is both formulate and analyze international politics, and work concomitantly with world governments, non-governmental organizations, and multi-national corporations. Due to the nature of work in these global affairs, several of the theories mentioned above are utilized to explain various phenomena. This paper will thus focus on a few questions as they relate to international relations and, specifically, to the theories which it employs.

To begin, one must understand that the field of international politics can be segmented into various categories, or levels of analysis. The most famous of these categories are Kenneth Waltz' groups, which include explanations of politics as being driven by individuals, by psychology, by states, by what Waltz calls systemic factors, and (or) by anarchy. Levels of analysis are important in international relations because they examine state behavior. Often, scholars will employ four levels of analysis (system level, state level, organizational level and individual level) to study state systems, make predictions as to how states will act, and thus drive foreign policy. [1: All information from: http://www.people.vcu.edu/~wnewmann/468theory.htm]

Due to the fact that international relations are impacted by such different, yet strong forces every moment of every day, Waltz' groups are helpful to scholars, which as seen, use quite a few of them. The theories that explain such chaotic activity are helpful as well. Most of the theories mentioned above do take into account various levels of analysis and most actually pertain to a specific level out of the four above. This is most likely why these theories have become famous and useful. A "good theory" must therefore take into account all the specifics of the level for which it acts, and all theories must take into account all specifics at all levels that they discuss. Thus, one can say that a good theory will take into account the same kind of principles every time (because it acts according to its particular level of analysis).

I believe that I am more of a realist because I prefer the state level of analysis. This kind of analysis combines classical realism with neo-classical realism and liberalism. State level analysis is also somewhat found in constructivism. Classical realism states that states always seek power, that this is the principal facet of international politics, and that even though they often seek to exert influence over other states, they often do not go to war because other states, they know, are as powerful as they are and thus nobody will win. Classical realism focuses on hard power.

Liberalism, on the other hand, which is also a state-centered theory, explains international relations from a more idealistic view. Whereas classical realism emphasizes rivalry, liberalism promotes cooperation and states that, indeed there is often much more cooperation between states. Liberalism also advocates that states are stalwarts for social order and that states try to create legal means for international cooperation. [2: All information from: http://www.people.vcu.edu/~wnewmann/468theory.htm ]

From this short analysis, one can see that there are not only multiple levels of analysis in international relations, but that there are also plenty of theories that are explained through these levels and that, in their turn, attempt to analyze international phenomena that affects our lives daily. It is important to recognize the specifics of these theories as well, in order to establish them as good and viable theories, and often, test them in the field. It is thus important to study both the theoretical and the practical approach of international relations to the examination of the international arena.

Group Dynamics

The next part of this paper will focus on group dynamics, which, as we…

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