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International Relations Concepts English for Academic Purposes - Week 2 -

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1 International Relations Concepts English for Academic Purposes - Week 2 -

2 International Relations The study of the political and social interaction of state, non-state actors, and individuals.

3 Nation-State (1) Nations and states may seem identical, but they are not. States govern people in a territory with boundaries. They have laws, taxes, officials, currencies, postal services, police, and (usually) armies. They wage war, negotiate treaties, put people in prison, and regulate life in thousands of ways. They claim sovereignty within their territory.

4 Nation-State (2) Nations are groups of people claiming common bonds like language, culture, and historical identity. Some groups claiming to be nations have a state of their own, like Turks. Others want a state but do not have one: Palestinians. Some imagined nations are larger than states or cross state boundaries ( Arabs, Turks, Kurds).

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8 Nation-State (3) Diplomatic recognition confers legitimacy on a new state (or on the government of a state such as Palestine, Northern Cyprus, Catalonia, Quebec) but sometimes there is a lack of consensus within the international community.

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10 Nationalism (1) Definitions rely either upon objective or subjective criteria, or on some combination of the two. The commonality of some particular trait among members of a group. Shared language, religion, ethnicity (common descent), and culture have all been used as criteria for defining nations.

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12 Nationalism (2) The claim that people belonging to a particular group called a nation should inhabit a particular area and control a state of their own. Such a definition points to nationalism as a method of drawing boundaries among people (i.e. self and other).

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15 Ethnicity The word ethnicity is derived from the Greek ethnos (which in turn derived from the word ethnikos), meaning nation. In everyday language, the word ethnicity still has a ring of ‘minority issues’ and ‘race relations’. In IR, it refers to aspects of relationships between groups that consider themselves, and are regarded by others, as being culturally distinctive.

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17 Sovereignty Acknowledgement of a central governing authority within a specified geographical territory, combined with the recognition of its status by other states.

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19 Legitimacy Legitimacy in international relations generally refers to the right to exercise moral and political authority. Political that play a key role in promoting human rights tend to enjoy a high degree of legitimacy. In this sense, legitimacy derives from the perception of the public authority’s right to rule and exercise jurisdiction over an issue and/or territorial boundaries.

20 Max Weber ( ) – German Sociologist

21 National Interest Of all the concepts, this one is the most vague and therefore easily used and abused, particularly by politicians to legitimize their policies. The problem of determining the criteria that can establish a correspondence between the national interest expressed as a principle and the sorts of policies by which it is advanced.

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23 Super Power Implies that there is a hierarchy of power among states. Plays a crucial leadership role in the international system and is able to gain the allegiance of other states. Within its sphere of influence, a superpower can impose its political will on smaller states with relative impunity. Not only does a superpower have the capacity to project effective military power far from its territory, but it also has enormous military resources at its disposal. A superpower has special duties with respect to the maintenance of international order and holds a privileged status in international forums such as the United Nations (UN).

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25 Great Powers The most influential states in the international system at any one time. The very definition of what constitutes a great power is a matter of some debate. It implies the existence of a club with some rule of membership. Great powers were at the front rank in terms of military strength and were recognised to have certain rights and duties regarding international peace and security.

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27 Thanks


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