Knowing and Understanding International Relations: Can Our Approaches to the Subject Cope with a Globalized World?
Since its inception as an independent discipline, international relations has developed a number of approaches (theories) which have adequately opened the subject matter to knowledge and understanding. However, since globalization (in especially its political guise) has become such a basic characteristic of the field (at the end of the cold war period) there seems to be a growing inability to utilize the available approaches in the process of knowing and understanding the field. The "globalized state" (instead of the sovereign territorial state) and the "globalized world order" (instead of a mere "post cold war order") are challenging our ability to deal with a new kind of international relations. This paper will analyze the nature of this challenge and evaluate the potential of the different existing approaches to develop a better knowledge and understanding of the political aspects of a globalized world. Attention will be given to the following approaches: realism and neo-realism, liberalism (idealism) and neo-liberalism, Marxist derivations and different reflectionist and constructivist theories.
Keywords: Approach, Globalization, Globalized State, Globalized World Order, Realism, Neo-realism, Liberalism, Marxism, Reflectionism, Constructivism
Prof. Gerhardus Stephanus Labuschagne
Professor, Department of Political Sciences, University of South Africa