Theories of International Relations (INR 4603)
“Question: In what ways is International Relations distinct from other disciplines? (i.e. focus area(s), fundamental qualities, relationship to real-world politics).”
International relations often put under the umbrella of political science is quite different from its father term and other disciplines. International relations in my point of view is the study of different countries and how they correlate with each other in the global community. Where-as political science, has a much larger history and attempts at studying systemically the patterns of conflict and cooperation among mutually alien actors. International relations is a distinct discipline as it has many characteristics of a specific academic discipline. One typically interprets international relations to be ‘actual relations between states,’ however in the academic field of this study, we give it a some-what different definition. International relations, according to Malhotra (2002), is defined as a branch of social sciences dealing with policies, developments and interactions, the effects of which cross national boundaries affect the lives of people in different countries and in several parts of the world. I shall now compare the father science, political science to his son, International relations. In specialization and studying international relations focuses on powers that cross borders where as political science focuses on domestic power. In terms of importance, political science without doubt is important but international relations is irreplaceable because no state can be set apart from others. Both international relations and political science are similar in terms of decision making however they differ on the basis of decision making. In political science the government has the power to enforce the decisions, whereas in IR there is no real power to implement all decisions. According to Majdi Nema (2016), “political Science studies society as a “power of rule”, that depends on sovereignty to force the society to follow this power while IR rules without sovereignty because of a lack of real power in the world.”
Law is typically divided into two subcategories, “political law and international law.” To differentiate between the two, domestic law also called national or municipal law regulates the behavior and actions of people within a country, factors responsible for protecting and enforcing laws are official administrative and legislative. International relations on the other hand regulates the behavior and actions of governmental bodies and depends on conventional studies and similarities. In a concluding comparison, we shall compare both sciences in terms of elements which are targeted to study in each. When political science targets maintenance of power and stability inside a state, such as interest groups; international relations however focuses on the ability to increase a state’s power in International community.
Political science according to Hoffman is much older and has a longer history than international relations. Although both are very similar and can easily be confused with each other, they have distinctive differences. In concluding, after reading, it is to my understanding that when studying political science one will look deep into the government while one studying international relations will really study the not only the government but the world at large.