International Relations Theory

International relations theory is the study of international relations from a theoretical perspective; it attempts to provide a conceptual framework upon which international relations can be analyzed. Ole Holsti describes international relations theories act as a pair of coloured sunglasses, allowing the wearer to see only the salient events relevant to the theory. An adherent of realism may completely disregard an event that a constructivist might pounce upon as crucial, and vice versa. The three most popular theories are realism, liberalism and constructivism.

International relations theories can be divided into "positivist/rationalist" theories which focus on a principally state-level analysis, and "post-positivist/reflectivist" ones which incorporate expanded meanings of security, ranging from class, to gender, to postcolonial security. Many often conflicting ways of thinking exist in IR theory, including constructivism, institutionalism, Marxism, neo-Gramscianism, and others. However, two positivist schools of thought are most prevalent: realism and liberalism; though increasingly, constructivism is becoming mainstream.

Read more about International Relations Theory:  Introduction, Realism, Liberalism, Constructivism, Marxism and Critical Theory, Feminism, English School, Functionalism, State Cartel Theory, Post-structuralism, Post-modernism, Postcolonialism, Evolutionary Perspectives

Famous quotes containing the words international relations, relations and/or theory:

    International relations is security, it’s trade relations, it’s power games. It’s not good-and-bad. But what I saw in Yugoslavia was pure evil. Not ethnic hatred—that’s only like a label. I really had a feeling there that I am observing unleashed human evil ...
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    I want relations which are not purely personal, based on purely personal qualities; but relations based upon some unanimous accord in truth or belief, and a harmony of purpose, rather than of personality. I am weary of personality.... Let us be easy and impersonal, not forever fingering over our own souls, and the souls of our acquaintances, but trying to create a new life, a new common life, a new complete tree of life from the roots that are within us.
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    The struggle for existence holds as much in the intellectual as in the physical world. A theory is a species of thinking, and its right to exist is coextensive with its power of resisting extinction by its rivals.
    Thomas Henry Huxley (1825–95)