Offerings and Dates This course surveys the principal theoretical perspectives on international relations that have emerged in the 20th Century in the western tradition.
Yet, a persistent conventional wisdom suggests ethics are marginal to international relations.
This conventional wisdom has two sources. After World War II, as the International relations theory essay questions of international relations was taking shape in the United Kingdom and the United States, a number of prominent scholars holding a realist view on questions of ethics came to dominate the field.
Figures such as Hans J. Morgenthau, Reinhold Niebuhr, and E. Carr criticized what they saw as the misplaced moralism of earlier scholars who put their faith in the power of law and institutions to reform international relations.
Not long after this move toward a realist paradigm that was skeptical of ethics, the discipline also began to focus on developing a value-free social scientific approach that rejected ethical questions as part of the study of international relations, especially in the United States.
Yet, these two early shifts in the discipline obscure the fact that questions of ethics have always been part of the study of international relations. International relations, however, is concerned with political events and social forces that impact the lives of individuals, communities, and the human species as a whole, making ethical considerations inescapable.
There is a long tradition of ethical reflection on international relations, stretching as far back as human beings have been concerned with intercommunal relations, but these reflections have been a secondary focus to the consideration of ethics and politics within communities.
In part, this is why ethical questions about international relations come to the fore during periods of imperial expansion. Just War theory has its roots in St. International law developed as a way of justly dividing the world between sovereign states and savage peoples in need of civilization during the era of European colonialism, and human rights have taken center stage since the end of the Cold War, as the global influence of the United States reached its peak.
Today, ethics are increasingly seen as a central part of the study of international relations. This shift has come about partly through the work of critical scholars working in a variety of traditions, who have rejected the long dominance of realism and the aspiration to a value-free social science.
These critical voices include liberal political theorists, feminists, critical theorists, postmodernists, and postcolonialists. Along with this shift within the academic study of international relations, important changes have also taken place in the interactions between states. Without suggesting we have gone through an epochal change to a supposedly unprecedented era of globalization, it is clear that the traditional Westphalian state system has changed dramatically.
There are more sovereign states than before with a greater equality of political and economic power between regions, while at the same time international institutions and global civil society have expanded, and individuals have more contact with each other outside of their national communities than was previously possible.
Together with shifts in how we think about international relations, these social changes have put ethics back onto the agenda.
As the current state of the field is defined by a diversity of perspectives and problems, this article is plural in the views represented and as wide ranging in its coverage as space will allow—although students should be aware that much more information is available.
Hopefully, other scholars will appreciate that boundaries have to be drawn, and exclusions must be made. General Overviews Within the field of international relations, ethics took on a more prominent role starting in the s with the rise of feminist approaches, illustrated in edited collections by Narayan and Harding and Whisnant and DesAutels ; the emergence of critical theory, notably in Linklater ; and increasing interest in postmodernist ethics, discussed in the edited volume by Campbell and Shapiroand traced with great clarity in Hutchings Further, a number of international relations scholars began reexamining the place of normative questions within the tradition of Western thought that forms the core of the discipline.
Boucher traced the historical relationship between ethics and international politics, and Brown did similar work but focused on the re-emergence of ethical questions within the discipline of international relations.
Keene provided a more focused intellectual history of international political thinking.
Political Theories of International Relations: From Thucydides to the Present. Oxford University Press, Columbia University Press, The core distinction between cosmopolitan and communitarian theories put forward in the book has been influential.
Campbell, David, and Michael J. Rethinking Ethics and World Politics. University of Minnesota Press, This edited collection draws together a number of postmodern thinkers from both international relations and political theory.
It provides a good overview of approaches and issues in world politics covered by this tradition. Rethinking Ethics in a Global Era. A very clear account of the development of international political theory as a form of normative international theory or global ethics, which also highlights the contributions made by critical theorists, feminists, and poststructuralists.
This text provides a history of political thought on international relations that focuses on conceptual changes in how relations between communities are conducted. It self-consciously avoids summarizing canonical thinkers and looks beyond the modern European state system.
The Transformation of Political Community:The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University houses writing resources and instructional material, and we provide these as a free service of the Writing Lab at Purdue.
POLI International Relations (IR) Theory: A Critical Introduction AY (First Semester), Monday: – Pm The questions in the final examination will essay must be different from the other presentations) 20% 4.
Final: The final will a take-home final, students will answer three questions. Explore the latest articles, projects, and questions and answers in Theories of International Relations, and find Theories of International Relations experts.
International relations therefore lays more emphasis on multi cultural and global understanding of a world that is interconnected and complex, by focusing closely on . Hey fiends, Check back here daily when we hit the road for the official Creature Feature tour blog.
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Feminist Approaches to the Study of International Relations Theory In this essay, I will be attempting to explain the relatively late arrival of feminist approaches to the study of international relations theory.