Approaches to International Relations – Traditional & Modern

Fri, 10/14/2016 - 00:54 -- Umar Farooq

Approach is a way of looking at and then explaining a particular phenomenon. The perspective may be broad enough to cover a vast area like World as a whole, or it may be very small embracing an aspect of local, regional, national or international politics. Besides, it may cover with in its fold every other thing related to the collection and selection of evidence followed by an investigation and analysis of a particular hypothesis for an academic purpose. In this way, an approach consists of a criteria of selection criteria employed in selecting the problems or questions to consider and in selecting the data to bring to bear. It consists of standards governing the inclusion and exclusion of questions and data. An approach is distinguishable from a theory. An approach is closely related to a theory in view of the fact that it’s very character determines the way of generalization, explanation, and -prediction. are among the main functions of a theory. An approach is transformed into a theory if and when its function extends beyond the selection of problems and data about the subject under study.

There are two main categories of approaches of international relations studies i.e. traditional approaches and modern approaches.

Classical or Traditional Approaches of IR

Historical Approach: This Approach lays emphasis on certain permanent issues of international relations and politics like origins and characteristics of the state system, ideas underlying legal and diplomatic practices of the concert of Europe, balance of power and its relevance in the light of concrete achievements, causes of international conflicts and their cure etc. The historical approach is Id to have its own merit. It can help bring to light, to make more explicit. the assumptions of thought and also the value judgments that color the perceptions of the scholar and the practitioner alike.

Philosophical Approach: Ethical approach is the study of world world in inextricably mixed up with the quest of certain goals, morals, truths and high norms supposed to be underlying all knowledge and. reality. The philosophical approach is widely criticized for being too abstract and speculative. It is said that such an approach to the study of International Relations and politics takes away from the world of reality and for this reason: it is accused of being utopian.

Legal Approach: Ever since Grotius produced his great work on International law, a good number of leading figures have followed the legal approach to the study of international politics. Obviously, the legal approach. as applied to the study of national or international willies, stands on this assumption that law prescribes action to be Liken in a given situation and also forbids the action.

Institutional Approach: It may be treated as an extension of the legal approach discussed above. Here the focus is on the formal structure of an existing or proposed organization entrusted with the job of maintaining peace among the states or implementing the principles of international law. It places may be seen in the studies of the organization and structure of the league of Nations, the United Nations and other specialized agencies like International Labor Organization, UNESCO and UNICEF etc.

New and Modern Approaches of International Relations

Behavioral Approach: The first sightings of this approach occurred in the 1920s. Frank Kent. an American journalist was the creator of this approach. Behavioral Approach specifies the behaviour of persons and social groups rather than events, structures, institutions ideologies. It stresses the mutual interdependence of theory and research and tries to develop vigorous research design and to apply precise methods of analysis to political behaviour problems.

Equilibrium Approach: Originally developed by the pioneer of the behavioural movement in political science like Author Bentley Charles Merriam and George Caitlin, it signifies that politics is the instant product of the interaction of variables characteristics of the forces in conflict and the public policy is the product of adjustment between conflicting interests. It studied the world as equilibrium. Equilibrium is defined as a relationship among the forces operating upon or within an entity or group of entities so that the whole manifests in some degree and some form of stability.

Communication Approach: It seeks to demonstrate the' political aspects of International communications to the degree to that these flew of communication condition political behaviour. This approach lays stress on the point that if politics is envisaged as a system; the control of the system centers on communication and the ability of a state to control are related to its ability to deal with information.

Integration Approach: Another approach with that the name of Karl Deutsch is associated is known by the name of integration approach that. in a strict sense seeks to pour old wine into a new bottle. It desires the integration of two or more states to form a new and larger entity for defending themselves as well as for contributing to the situation of world peace. Deutsch argues that integration is the attainment with in a territory of a sense of community and of institutions and practices strong and wide spread enough to assure, for a long time. dependable expectations of peaceful change among the population.

Game theory: It is defined as a body of thought dealing with rational decision strategies in situations of conflict and competition where in each participant or player seeks to maximize his gains and minimize his losses. Davis B. Bobrow, suggests the following proposals of the.situation with that game theory deals.

  1. Each player has two or more choices as to how to proceed in the game.
  2. A player of the. game consists of a single simultaneous choice of a strategy of each of the players.
  3. The outcome of the game is determined once each player has chosen a strategy.
  4. And each possible outcome is associated with a particular payoff or return (Positive or negative) to each player.

Marxist Approach: Basically different from the liberal view of international politics, the Marxists regard politics as a struggle for power hinging on the basis of class interests. In the domestic sphere, politics signifies a continuous fight between the two contending classes. The dominant class having control over the means of production, distribution, and exchange and the dominated one that becomes the victim of exploitation and oppression at the hands of dominant class. The same fact finds its extension in the international sphere where capitalist states fight for economic exploitation and political subjugation of the weaker states of the world. With a view to establish their monopolistic hold, they fight against each other for the partition of the globe as a result of that world war occurs.