Intro to International Relations

Essay by tumblekerUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, September 2006

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1. Briefly review the major conceptual, methodological and theoretical problems in the field of International Relations. Explain the ways by which post-behavioralism can overcome the shortcomings of the behavioral approach.

The study of International Relations (IR) touches or overlaps with every other social science, which leads to several problems with the concepts, methods and theories within the field. Because the scope of IR is so broad terminology is not clearly defined leading to confusion or a lack or clarity to all students. A common term in IR might not carry the same meaning or a clear definition in Economics, Sociology or any other social science. Another problem with the concepts, methods and theories is that IR encompasses and touches all parts of life making the field as a whole hard to define, teach or learn. There are multiple methods of study and theories in IR. This is problematic and further aggravates the study of IR.

Unlike Biology, where there is one way to test theories, IR employs a variety of possible theories to study social phenomenon.

No one method or approach will work perfectly without the support of another. It is possible to study using only one or multiple methods or theories. This is a double-edged sword as it allows more flexibility and more work than only having one theory. There are minimal problems with the actual theories in IR as they are very stable. Because a theory is something that has been tested and can be duplicated the theories in place are reliable.

There are three specific methods used in IR. The first approach is normative or philosophical. To use this approach is costly in the moral sense. The social scientist using this approach is doomed from the start unless clear parameters are set because this approach defines good,