“What exactly are International Relations?’’ You might be wondering. Not to worry, as this will be covered throughout this blog, alongside the reasons for its growing importance in our society.
International Relations is the scientific study of interactions between states, and also heavily ties in with the concept of globalisation. Globalisation is now at an all time high due to its facilitation by technological, socioeconomic, political and also environmental developments which have improved global communications. Many would argue that it is an uncertain time to get involved with global affairs: Brexit, the Ukrainian war and Covid-19 have all led to a sense of political and economic anxiety, whilst also posing a threat to globalisation through creating economic backlash in traditionally powerful world economies. In an article published by the Independent, it was mentioned that, “If the human race is wiped out in the next 50 years it will not be because of disease or an asteroid hitting the earth, but, because of foreign policy and international relations’’. This is why understanding globalised markets, and the factors that influence the relationships between countries, has never been so relevant.
The whole concept of international studies is said to have stemmed from political sciences and the way that international systems operate. Though the concept may seem absurd to some, and you may feel as though international relations has nothing to do with you, however, that is false. Every single member of society is involved in international relations, whether you decide to buy products that are fair trade, what religion you practise, your cultural background and even where you live; these are choices that actively define your place. The reason for international relations being so significant is due to the fact that it goes far beyond just peace and war, poverty and business. It explores the key players and individuals in world politics, the implicit political patterns, and it also identifies the theories of how troubles can be resolved and cooperation can be reached.
As international relations becomes more significant, the same goes for a topic similar to it; diaspora politics. Diaspora politics are forms of political engagement that link constituencies in one country with a real or imagined homeland. Structural changes in the economy, enhanced global connectivity and the search for a better life, have all facilitated diasporic political engagements. This new type of communication amongst dispersed populations allows citizens to influence political events in ways that have attracted the attention of both governments and nongovernmental organisations. This was seen, for example, when the Czechs and Slovaks in the United States were the driving force behind the establishment of Czechoslovakia as an independent state in 1918, following the collapse of the Habsburg Empire. This goes to show that diasporic politics has a way of shaping and influencing government policy and action, and in theory, international relations.
Furthermore, International Relations is becoming a very popular university course, with 111 universities in the UK offering an International Relations degree. An International Relations degree enables you to effectively analyse how events affect both developed and developing economies and how to adapt to this, whilst also prompting you to think of change and reform, how to unify thoughts and actions – across generations, communities, public, private and non-profit sectors.
Understanding how the world has developed over time is absolutely crucial for further developments. It is important to know that events do not occur in isolation, as events in one part of the globe can have unlikely consequences for another. Globalisation has and will continue to affect political, socio-economic and cultural forces across the globe. Therefore, as landmark events such as Covid-19 alongside others are happening all around us, gaining an understanding of our world through a global lens can profoundly inform our perspective on several of these events, as well as the future.
By Derinsola, (LVI)
Photo Credit: Nikon Corporation, Nikon D7200