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Introduction to International Relations: Theories, Concepts and Debates DSC 6 | DU SOLVED PAPER 2024 PYQ | SEMESTER 2 DSC-6

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IR PYQ 2023-24
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1. What do you understand by International Relations? Discuss the major concerns of International Relations as a discipline.

International Relations (IR) is a multidisciplinary field that studies the interactions among states, international organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), multinational corporations, and other international actors. It seeks to understand the complexities of global politics, economics, security, and diplomacy. IR examines how these actors engage with each other, the underlying principles and theories that guide their behavior, and the impact of international events and policies on global affairs.

Major Concerns of International Relations as a Discipline

  1. Theories of International Relations:

  • Realism:¬†Focuses on the notion that states act primarily in their own self-interest and are motivated by the desire for power and security. Realism emphasizes the competitive and conflictual aspects of international relations.

  • Liberalism:¬†Highlights the potential for cooperation among states through international institutions, trade, and the spread of democracy. Liberalism suggests that international organizations and laws can help mitigate anarchy and promote peace.

  • Constructivism:¬†Argues that international relations are socially constructed through ideas, norms, and identities. Constructivists examine how these factors influence state behavior and international outcomes.

  • Marxism and Critical Theories:¬†Focus on the economic and class-based structures of the global system. They critique the dominance of capitalist states and the inequalities perpetuated by the global economic order.

  • Feminist IR:¬†Examines how gender shapes international politics, highlighting the roles and experiences of women and other marginalized groups in global affairs.

  1. International Security:

  • War and Peace:¬†The causes of war, conflict resolution, and the maintenance of peace are central concerns. IR scholars study interstate wars, civil wars, terrorism, and the role of international organizations like the United Nations in conflict prevention and resolution.

  • Nuclear Proliferation:¬†The spread of nuclear weapons and efforts to control and prevent their use are critical issues. The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and disarmament efforts are central to this discussion.

  • Terrorism:¬†The impact of global terrorism on international security, counter-terrorism strategies, and the role of international cooperation in combating terrorism.

  1. International Political Economy:

  • Global Trade:¬†The dynamics of international trade, trade agreements, and the role of organizations like the World Trade Organization (WTO) in regulating trade.

  • Global Finance:¬†The functioning of global financial markets, the role of institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, and issues related to debt, development, and economic crises.

  • Development:¬†The challenges of economic development, poverty alleviation, and the impact of globalization on developing countries.

  1. Global Governance and International Organizations:

  • United Nations (UN):¬†The role of the UN in maintaining international peace and security, promoting human rights, and fostering social and economic development.

  • Regional Organizations:¬†The impact of regional organizations like the European Union (EU), African Union (AU), and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on regional stability and integration.

  • Non-State Actors:¬†The influence of NGOs, multinational corporations, and other non-state actors on global governance and policy-making.

  1. Human Rights and Humanitarian Issues:

  • Human Rights:¬†The promotion and protection of human rights, the role of international treaties and organizations, and the challenges of enforcing human rights standards globally.

  • Humanitarian Intervention:¬†The principles and practices of humanitarian intervention, the responsibility to protect (R2P), and the ethical and legal debates surrounding intervention in sovereign states.

  1. Environmental Issues:

  • Climate Change:¬†The global response to climate change, international environmental agreements like the Paris Agreement, and the role of states and international organizations in addressing environmental challenges.

  • Sustainable Development:¬†Efforts to promote sustainable development and balance economic growth with environmental protection and social equity.

  1. Global Health:

  • Pandemics:¬†The international response to pandemics, the role of the World Health Organization (WHO), and the impact of global health crises on international relations.

  • Health Security:¬†The intersection of health and security, including biosecurity threats and the global governance of health.


International Relations as a discipline encompasses a wide range of concerns that reflect the complexity of the global system. By studying IR, scholars and practitioners aim to understand and address the multifaceted challenges that shape international politics and the interactions among global actors. The discipline continues to evolve, incorporating new theories and addressing emerging issues in an increasingly interconnected world.

2. Discuss the evolution of International Relations as a discipline in India?

The study of International Relations (IR) in India has evolved significantly since its inception. The trajectory of IR as an academic discipline in India reflects the country's own political, economic, and strategic transformations.

Here’s an overview of its evolution:

1. Pre-Independence Period:

  • Colonial Context:¬†The study of international affairs in India during the colonial period was influenced by British colonial interests. Indian scholars often engaged with global political events through the lens of colonial rule.

  • Early Thinkers:¬†Figures like Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi offered critiques of Western imperialism and articulated visions for international peace and cooperation.

2. Post-Independence Period (1947-1960s):

  • Establishment of Institutions:¬†With India‚Äôs independence in 1947, there was a growing recognition of the need for systematic study of international affairs. Institutions like the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) were established to foster research and dialogue on global issues.

  • Non-Alignment Movement (NAM):¬†India‚Äôs foreign policy, under the leadership of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, was characterized by non-alignment. This provided a unique perspective for Indian scholars to analyze international relations distinct from the bipolar Cold War framework.

3. 1970s-1980s:

  • Institutional Growth:¬†The period saw the establishment of more dedicated IR departments and courses in Indian universities. Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) became a prominent center for IR studies.

  • Regional Focus:¬†There was an increased focus on South Asian regional dynamics, given the geopolitical tensions and conflicts in the region, such as the India-Pakistan wars and the Indo-China conflict.

  • Theoretical Contributions:¬†Indian scholars began to engage more deeply with IR theories, contributing to the debates on development, security, and non-alignment.

4. 1990s - Post-Cold War Era:

  • Economic Liberalization:¬†The liberalization of India‚Äôs economy in 1991 under Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao marked a significant shift. The opening up of the economy brought new dimensions to IR studies, emphasizing economic diplomacy and global integration.

  • Globalization:¬†With globalization, Indian scholars began to focus on new issues such as trade, investment, global governance, and transnational challenges.

  • Nuclear Tests of 1998:¬†India‚Äôs nuclear tests and subsequent declaration as a nuclear weapon state brought security studies and strategic issues to the forefront of IR research in India.

5. 21st Century - Contemporary Developments:

  • Diversification of Themes:¬†Contemporary IR research in India covers a wide array of topics including climate change, human rights, terrorism, cyber security, and maritime security.

  • Think Tanks and Research Institutions:¬†The proliferation of think tanks like the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), Centre for Policy Research (CPR), and Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) has enriched IR scholarship with policy-oriented research.

  • Global South Perspective:¬†Indian scholars have increasingly contributed to global IR debates from a Global South perspective, challenging Western-centric paradigms and highlighting issues pertinent to developing countries.

Key Challenges and Opportunities

  • Methodological Diversification:¬†There is a push for methodological diversification, with Indian IR scholarship increasingly employing quantitative methods, case studies, and interdisciplinary approaches.

  • Bridging Theory and Practice:¬†Efforts are being made to bridge the gap between academic research and policy-making, ensuring that IR scholarship has practical relevance.

  • Global Academic Engagement:¬†Indian scholars are engaging more with international academic communities, contributing to global IR literature and bringing Indian perspectives to global forums.


The evolution of International Relations as a discipline in India reflects the country’s own historical and geopolitical journey. From a colonial legacy to a vibrant and diverse field of study, Indian IR has grown to address both traditional and emerging global challenges. The discipline continues to evolve, contributing uniquely to the global understanding of international affairs.

3. ‚Ā†Can Kautilya be classified as a realist thinker? Explain with reference to his doctrine of Mandala.

Kautilya, also known as Chanakya or Vishnugupta, was an ancient Indian philosopher, economist, and strategist who authored the Arthashastra, a comprehensive treatise on statecraft, economic policy, and military strategy. Many scholars consider Kautilya to be a realist thinker because his ideas align closely with the principles of political realism, which emphasizes the role of power and the inherently competitive and conflictual nature of international relations.

Realist Characteristics in Kautilya’s Thought

  1. Power and Statecraft:

  • Kautilya‚Äôs Arthashastra emphasizes the importance of power, both hard (military) and soft (diplomatic and economic), in maintaining the state‚Äôs security and prosperity.

  • He advocates for a pragmatic and sometimes ruthless approach to governance, including espionage, subterfuge, and realpolitik.

  1. Self-Interest and Survival:

  • Kautilya prioritizes the survival and self-interest of the state above all else. He argues that the ruler‚Äôs primary duty is to protect and enhance the power of the state.

  1. Anarchy and Competition:

  • Similar to modern realist thought, Kautilya recognizes the anarchic nature of the international system, where no central authority exists to enforce rules, leading to a constant state of competition and potential conflict among states.

The Doctrine of Mandala

The Mandala theory is a significant aspect of Kautilya’s strategic thought and provides a framework for understanding the political and strategic dynamics of ancient India. It outlines a model for foreign policy and interstate relations, based on the geographical and political relationships between states.

Key Elements of the Mandala Theory

  1. Circle of States:

  • The Mandala theory posits that the state (Vijigishu) is surrounded by a circle of twelve other states, each with a specific relationship to the central state. These relationships are defined primarily by their geographical proximity and strategic interests.

  1. Types of States:

  • Ari (Enemy):¬†The state adjacent to the Vijigishu, often seen as a potential threat.

  • Mitra (Ally):¬†The state next to the enemy, which can be seen as a potential ally.

  • Madhyama (Middle Power):¬†States that are geographically situated between powerful states and can play a balancing role.

  • Udasina (Neutral State):¬†States that are neutral and not directly involved in the immediate power struggle but can be influenced through diplomacy.

  1. Strategic Alliances and Rivalries:

  • Kautilya advocates for a dynamic approach to alliances and enmities, where states should constantly reassess their relationships based on changing strategic interests.

  • He suggests forming alliances with states that can counterbalance enemies and leveraging diplomatic means to isolate and weaken adversaries.

  1. Realpolitik:

  • The Mandala theory reflects a realist approach, emphasizing the importance of strategic calculations, alliances of convenience, and the perpetual nature of power struggles.


Kautilya can indeed be classified as a realist thinker based on his pragmatic and power-centric approach to statecraft and international relations. His doctrine of Mandala, with its emphasis on strategic alliances, balance of power, and the constant competition among states, aligns closely with the core tenets of political realism. Kautilya’s Arthashastra remains a foundational text in the study of realist thought, offering timeless insights into the dynamics of power and statecraft.

4. 'Anarchy is what states make of it'. Discuss with reference to Alexander Wendt's understanding of IR.

Alexander Wendt's seminal article "Anarchy is What States Make of It: The Social Construction of Power Politics" (1992) is a cornerstone of constructivist theory in International Relations (IR). Wendt challenges the neorealist assumption that anarchy, the lack of a central authority in the international system, inherently leads to self-help behavior and power politics. Instead, Wendt argues that the nature of anarchy is socially constructed through the interactions and shared understandings of states. Here’s a detailed discussion of Wendt's understanding of IR and his key arguments.

Key Concepts in Wendt's Constructivism

  1. Social Construction of Reality:

  • Wendt asserts that the structures of human association are determined primarily by shared ideas rather than material forces, and the identities and interests of purposive actors are constructed by these shared ideas rather than given by nature.

  • This perspective contrasts with neorealism, which views the anarchic structure as an immutable force driving states to act in certain ways to ensure their survival.

  1. Identity and Interests:

  • For Wendt, the identities and interests of states are not fixed but are shaped by social interactions. Through repeated interactions, states develop shared understandings and expectations that influence their behavior.

  • This means that anarchy does not have a single logic of self-help and power politics; instead, the nature of anarchy can vary based on the identities and interests that states construct.

  1. Self-Help and Cooperation:

  • Wendt argues that self-help is not an inevitable outcome of anarchy. While neorealists see anarchy leading to a self-help system where states prioritize their security above all else, Wendt suggests that states can also construct a cooperative system through positive interactions.

  • States may engage in practices that foster trust and cooperation, leading to a more benign form of anarchy where collective security and mutual benefit are possible.

The Logic of Anarchy: Three Cultures of Anarchy

Wendt outlines three different "cultures of anarchy" that can emerge based on the interactions and shared understandings among states:

  1. Hobbesian Culture:

  • In a Hobbesian culture, states view each other as enemies, leading to a self-help system characterized by constant distrust and the expectation of conflict.

  • This is the world of "realpolitik," where survival is the primary concern, and power politics dominates.

  1. Lockean Culture:

  • In a Lockean culture, states see each other as rivals but recognize each other's right to exist. While competition persists, it is constrained by mutual recognition and rules.

  • This culture allows for more stability and less conflict than a Hobbesian culture, though self-help remains a significant factor.

  1. Kantian Culture:

  • In a Kantian culture, states view each other as friends, leading to high levels of trust, cooperation, and the expectation of peaceful resolution of disputes.

  • This culture is characterized by collective security arrangements and shared norms that promote mutual benefit and collective action.

Implications for International Relations

  1. Potential for Change:

  • Wendt's constructivism highlights the potential for change in the international system. Since anarchy is what states make of it, the nature of international relations can evolve based on changing identities, interests, and shared understandings.

  • This implies that the international system is not doomed to perpetual conflict and competition; cooperative and peaceful international orders are possible if states construct them through their interactions.

  1. Role of Ideas and Norms:

  • Wendt emphasizes the importance of ideas, norms, and social practices in shaping international relations. These non-material factors are crucial in determining how states perceive each other and how they behave.

  • This contrasts with materialist theories like neorealism and neoliberalism, which focus primarily on material capabilities and interests.

  1. Agency of States:

  • States are not merely passive actors responding to the structural pressures of anarchy. They have agency and can shape the structure of the international system through their actions and interactions.

  • This agency allows for the possibility of transforming hostile relations into cooperative ones through diplomacy, dialogue, and the construction of shared norms.


Alexander Wendt's constructivist approach fundamentally challenges the deterministic view of anarchy in neorealist theory. By arguing that "anarchy is what states make of it," Wendt opens up the possibility for multiple forms of international order based on the social construction of identities and interests. His work emphasizes the role of ideas, norms, and interactions in shaping international relations, suggesting that the potential for cooperation and peace is as inherent in anarchy as the potential for conflict and competition.

5. ‚Ā†What are the major differences between idealism and realism?

Idealism and realism are two major theoretical perspectives in the field of International Relations (IR). They offer contrasting views on how the international system operates, the nature of states, and the potential for peace and cooperation.

Here are the major differences between these two schools of thought

1. View of Human Nature


  • Optimistic View:¬†Idealists believe that human nature is inherently good or capable of improvement. They argue that individuals and states can act morally and altruistically, working towards common goals and mutual benefit.

  • Progress and Cooperation:¬†Idealists are optimistic about the potential for progress and cooperation in international relations. They emphasize the possibility of achieving lasting peace through moral values, education, and international institutions.


  • Pessimistic View:¬†Realists have a more pessimistic view of human nature, seeing individuals and states as inherently self-interested and power-seeking. They argue that humans are driven by a desire for power and security.

  • Conflict and Competition:¬†Realists believe that conflict and competition are inevitable in international relations due to the self-serving nature of states.

2. Nature of the International System


  • Harmony of Interests:¬†Idealists argue that there is a potential for a harmony of interests among states. They believe that international institutions, law, and norms can help align state interests and foster cooperation.

  • Potential for Change:¬†Idealists see the international system as capable of change and improvement. They believe that through collective action, education, and ethical principles, a more peaceful and just international order can be achieved.


  • Anarchy and Power Politics:¬†Realists view the international system as anarchic, meaning there is no overarching authority to enforce rules or norms. This anarchy leads to a self-help system where states must rely on their own capabilities for survival.

  • Enduring Nature:¬†Realists argue that the anarchic nature of the international system is enduring and unchangeable. Power politics and competition for security and resources are constant features.

3. Role of the State


  • Cooperative Actor:¬†Idealists see the state as capable of acting cooperatively and pursuing common interests. They believe that states can work together through international organizations and agreements to solve global issues.

  • Moral and Ethical Responsibility:¬†Idealists emphasize the moral and ethical responsibilities of states. They advocate for policies that promote human rights, democracy, and international justice.


  • Self-Interested Actor:¬†Realists view the state as the primary actor in international relations, driven by self-interest and the pursuit of power. The state‚Äôs main goal is to ensure its own survival and security.

  • Power and Security:¬†Realists focus on the accumulation and balance of power. They argue that states prioritize their own power and security above all else, often leading to conflicts and alliances based on strategic interests.

4. Approach to International Institutions and Law


  • Supportive of Institutions:¬†Idealists believe in the importance of international institutions and law in promoting peace and cooperation. They argue that institutions like the United Nations can help mediate conflicts, enforce international norms, and facilitate collective action.

  • Rule-Based Order:¬†Idealists advocate for a rule-based international order where laws and agreements are respected and upheld. They see international law as a means to achieve global justice and stability.


  • Skeptical of Institutions:¬†Realists are skeptical of the effectiveness of international institutions and law. They argue that these institutions are often tools used by powerful states to further their own interests and that they lack the authority to enforce compliance.

  • Power-Based Order:¬†Realists believe that the international order is determined by the distribution of power among states. They argue that power, rather than law, dictates state behavior and outcomes in international relations.

5. Prospects for Peace


  • Achievable through Cooperation:¬†Idealists believe that lasting peace is achievable through international cooperation, dialogue, and adherence to ethical principles. They emphasize the role of diplomacy, international organizations, and conflict resolution mechanisms.

  • Focus on Disarmament and Development:¬†Idealists advocate for disarmament, economic development, and addressing root causes of conflict such as poverty and inequality as means to achieve peace.


  • Peace through Balance of Power:¬†Realists argue that peace is maintained through a balance of power among states. They believe that when power is evenly distributed, no single state can dominate, leading to stability.

  • Preparation for Conflict:¬†Realists emphasize the importance of military preparedness and deterrence. They argue that states must be ready to defend themselves and that power is the ultimate guarantor of peace.


Idealism and realism represent two distinct and often opposing perspectives in International Relations. Idealism emphasizes the potential for cooperation, ethical behavior, and the role of international institutions in achieving peace and justice. In contrast, realism focuses on the competitive and conflictual nature of international relations, the primacy of state power and security, and the enduring anarchy of the international system. Both perspectives offer valuable insights and have shaped the study and practice of international relations in profound ways.

6. ‚Ā†Write an essay on feminist perspective on IR?

Feminist perspectives on International Relations (IR) offer a critical examination of how traditional theories have marginalized or overlooked the roles, experiences, and contributions of women. By challenging the gendered nature of global politics, feminist IR seeks to broaden the understanding of international issues, emphasizing the importance of gender analysis in comprehending power dynamics, security, and global governance. This essay explores the key principles of feminist IR, its critiques of traditional theories, and its contributions to the field.

Key Principles of Feminist IR

  1. Gender as a Fundamental Category of Analysis:

  • Feminist IR asserts that gender is a crucial factor influencing international politics. It highlights how traditional IR theories often ignore or minimize the impact of gender on global affairs.

  • This perspective emphasizes that both the public and private spheres are interconnected, challenging the conventional division between domestic and international politics.

  1. Focus on Marginalized Voices:

  • Feminist scholars advocate for the inclusion of women's voices and experiences in IR, arguing that traditional theories have predominantly reflected male perspectives and priorities.

  • This approach seeks to uncover and address the power imbalances and inequalities faced by women and other marginalized groups in international politics.

  1. Critique of Power and Patriarchy:

  • Feminist IR critiques the patriarchal structures that underpin global politics, highlighting how power relations are gendered.

  • It examines how these structures perpetuate gender inequalities and shape international relations, from decision-making processes to conflict resolution.

Critiques of Traditional IR Theories

  1. Realism and Neorealism:

  • Feminist scholars critique realism and neorealism for their focus on state-centric, power-driven approaches that prioritize military and economic power while ignoring social and gendered dimensions.

  • They argue that these theories reinforce masculine notions of power and security, overlooking the impact of international politics on women and gender relations.

  1. Liberalism:

  • While liberalism emphasizes individual rights and democratic governance, feminist IR points out that it often fails to address gender-specific issues adequately.

  • Feminists critique liberalism for its emphasis on formal equality without considering the substantive inequalities that persist due to gender norms and biases.

  1. Marxism:

  • Although Marxism focuses on class struggle and economic exploitation, feminist IR highlights that it often neglects the intersection of class and gender.

  • Feminist scholars argue that Marxist theories must incorporate gender analysis to fully understand the complexities of oppression and exploitation.

Contributions of Feminist IR

  1. Broadening the Concept of Security:

  • Feminist IR redefines security to include not only state security but also human security, emphasizing the safety and well-being of individuals, particularly women.

  • This perspective highlights issues such as gender-based violence, human trafficking, and the impact of armed conflict on women and children.

  1. Highlighting Women's Roles in Peacebuilding:

  • Feminist scholars underscore the significant contributions of women to peacebuilding and conflict resolution.

  • They advocate for the inclusion of women in peace processes and decision-making bodies, arguing that diverse perspectives lead to more comprehensive and sustainable peace agreements.

  1. Intersectionality:

  • Feminist IR introduces the concept of intersectionality, which examines how various social identities, such as gender, race, class, and sexuality, intersect and impact individuals' experiences in international politics.

  • This approach provides a more nuanced understanding of global issues, recognizing the interconnectedness of different forms of oppression.

  1. Challenging the Gendered Nature of International Organizations:

  • Feminist IR critiques the gender biases within international organizations and institutions, advocating for more inclusive and equitable policies.

  • It highlights the need for gender mainstreaming in international policies and programs to ensure that they address the specific needs and concerns of women.

Case Studies and Practical Applications

  1. Women, Peace, and Security Agenda:

  • The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security (2000) is a landmark framework that emphasizes the importance of women's participation in peace processes and the protection of women in conflict situations.

  • Feminist IR scholars have been instrumental in promoting and analyzing the implementation of this resolution, advocating for more significant commitments to gender equality in peace and security efforts.

  1. Gender and Development:

  • Feminist IR has contributed to the field of development by highlighting the gendered dimensions of economic policies and practices.

  • It advocates for gender-sensitive development programs that address women's specific needs and promote their economic empowerment.


Feminist perspectives on International Relations provide a critical lens through which to examine the gendered dimensions of global politics. By challenging traditional theories and emphasizing the importance of gender analysis, feminist IR broadens the understanding of international issues and advocates for more inclusive and equitable policies. This approach not only highlights the significant contributions of women to global affairs but also calls for the dismantling of patriarchal structures that perpetuate gender inequalities. Through its focus on human security, intersectionality, and the roles of women in peacebuilding, feminist IR offers valuable insights and practical applications that enhance the field of International Relations.

7. ‚Ā†What do you understand by sovereignty in IR? Discuss its Western and non-Western perspectives.

Sovereignty is a foundational concept in International Relations (IR) that denotes the authority of a state to govern itself without external interference. It embodies the principles of political independence, territorial integrity, and non-intervention in the domestic affairs of states. However, the interpretation and application of sovereignty have varied across different historical and cultural contexts. This essay explores the concept of sovereignty, contrasting its Western and non-Western perspectives.

Definition of Sovereignty

Sovereignty refers to the supreme authority within a territory. It is the full right and power of a governing body to exercise control over its affairs without any external interference. The concept is typically divided into internal sovereignty, concerning the authority over domestic matters, and external sovereignty, relating to the recognition of a state by the international community.

Western Perspectives on Sovereignty

  1. Westphalian Sovereignty:

  • The Peace of Westphalia (1648) is often cited as the origin of the modern concept of state sovereignty. It established the principles of territorial integrity and political independence, where each state had the authority to govern its territory without external interference.

  • This treaty marked the end of the Thirty Years' War in Europe and laid the foundation for the contemporary international system of sovereign states.

  1. Legal-Rational Sovereignty:

  • In Western political thought, particularly influenced by thinkers like Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, sovereignty is seen as a legal-rational authority vested in the state or the people.

  • Hobbes, for instance, viewed sovereignty as absolute authority to maintain order and security, while Locke emphasized the social contract and the sovereignty of the people.

  1. Westphalian Model in Modern International Law:

  • The Westphalian model underpins modern international law, where sovereignty is linked to the legal recognition of states and their rights to non-interference and self-determination.

  • Institutions like the United Nations Charter reinforce these principles, emphasizing the equality of states and the prohibition of interference in domestic affairs.

Non-Western Perspectives on Sovereignty

  1. Pre-Colonial Concepts of Sovereignty:

  • Many non-Western societies had their own forms of political authority and sovereignty before the imposition of the Westphalian model through colonialism.

  • For example, African kingdoms and empires such as Mali and Songhai had centralized authorities and governance systems that differed from the European notion of sovereignty but were effective in maintaining order and administration.

  1. Post-Colonial Sovereignty:

  • In the post-colonial era, newly independent states in Africa, Asia, and Latin America embraced the principle of sovereignty as a means to assert their independence and resist neo-colonial influences.

  • These states often faced challenges in balancing internal sovereignty (state-building and national unity) with external sovereignty (gaining international recognition and resisting external intervention).

  1. Sovereignty and Development:

  • Non-Western perspectives often link sovereignty to development and economic independence. For example, the concept of "Third World sovereignty" emphasizes the right of developing countries to pursue economic policies free from external interference by former colonial powers and international financial institutions.

  • The Non-Aligned Movement, established during the Cold War, reflects a collective assertion of sovereignty by countries seeking to remain independent from the influence of both Western and Soviet blocs.

Contrasting Western and Non-Western Perspectives

  1. Intervention and Non-Intervention:

  • Western perspectives, particularly in the post-Cold War era, have sometimes advocated for "conditional sovereignty" where intervention is justified on humanitarian grounds or to prevent gross human rights violations.

  • Non-Western perspectives, influenced by historical experiences of colonialism and intervention, often emphasize the inviolability of sovereignty and the principle of non-intervention.

  1. Globalization and Sovereignty:

  • In the West, globalization is sometimes seen as a challenge to traditional notions of sovereignty, with increasing economic and political interdependence leading to shared sovereignty or the pooling of sovereignty in institutions like the European Union.

  • Non-Western perspectives might view globalization more critically, emphasizing the need to protect sovereignty against the pressures of global markets and transnational corporations that can undermine national development and autonomy.

  1. Sovereignty and Human Rights:

  • Western perspectives often argue for the responsibility to protect (R2P), which holds that sovereignty entails responsibilities, and the international community has a duty to intervene if a state fails to protect its citizens.

  • Non-Western perspectives may see this as a guise for intervention and argue that sovereignty should prioritize national sovereignty and self-determination, with human rights issues addressed through dialogue and cooperation rather than coercion.


Sovereignty remains a central and contested concept in International Relations, reflecting diverse historical experiences and political philosophies. While the Western perspective has historically emphasized legal-rational authority and the principles established by the Westphalian system, non-Western perspectives highlight the importance of sovereignty in resisting external domination and promoting development. Understanding these differing views is crucial for addressing contemporary global challenges and fostering a more inclusive and equitable international order.

8. Why power is considered as an essential element of IR theories?

Power is a central concept in International Relations (IR) theories because it fundamentally shapes the interactions between states and other international actors. Power determines the ability of states to influence outcomes, assert their interests, and maintain security. This essay explores why power is considered essential in IR theories, examining its various dimensions and the role it plays in different theoretical frameworks.

The Nature of Power in IR

  1. Definition of Power:

  • Power in IR is typically understood as the ability of an actor (usually a state) to influence the behavior of other actors and achieve its objectives. It encompasses both material capabilities, such as military and economic resources, and non-material factors, such as diplomatic influence and soft power.

  1. Dimensions of Power:

  • Hard Power:¬†This involves coercive means, primarily military force and economic sanctions, to influence other states' actions.

  • Soft Power:¬†Coined by Joseph Nye, soft power refers to the ability to shape the preferences of others through appeal and attraction, often through culture, values, and policies.

  • Smart Power:¬†A combination of hard and soft power strategies to achieve more effective outcomes in international relations.

Power in Different IR Theories

  1. Realism:

  • Classical Realism:¬†Realists like Hans Morgenthau argue that power is the primary currency of international politics. States are rational actors seeking to maximize their power to ensure survival in an anarchic international system.

  • Neorealism (Structural Realism):¬†Kenneth Waltz's theory emphasizes the distribution of power within the international system, particularly the balance of power among great powers. The structure of the international system and the relative power of states determine their behavior.

  1. Liberalism:

  • While liberalism focuses more on cooperation and institutions, power remains a crucial element. Liberals recognize that power imbalances can affect the effectiveness of international institutions and the prospects for cooperation.

  • Theories like neoliberal institutionalism highlight how institutions can mitigate the effects of power asymmetries by creating rules and norms that facilitate cooperation.

  1. Constructivism:

  • Constructivists, such as Alexander Wendt, emphasize the social construction of power. They argue that power is not only about material capabilities but also about ideational factors, such as identities, norms, and discourses.

  • Power in constructivist theory is relational and context-dependent, shaped by social interactions and shared understandings.

  1. Marxism and Critical Theories:

  • Marxist and critical theories focus on economic power and the role of capitalism in shaping international relations. They argue that power relations in the global economy perpetuate inequalities and serve the interests of dominant capitalist states.

  • These theories often critique the power structures inherent in global governance and advocate for a more equitable distribution of power.

  1. Feminist IR:

  • Feminist IR scholars examine how power relations are gendered, highlighting the ways in which traditional IR theories have marginalized women and other non-dominant groups.

  • They argue that understanding power from a feminist perspective involves analyzing both visible and invisible forms of power, including structural and ideological power.

The Role of Power in Key IR Concepts

  1. Security:

  • Power is central to the concept of security, as states seek to enhance their power to protect themselves from external threats. This is evident in military alliances, arms races, and deterrence strategies.

  1. Diplomacy:

  • Diplomatic power involves the ability to negotiate, persuade, and influence other states through non-coercive means. Effective diplomacy often relies on a combination of hard and soft power.

  1. Economic Relations:

  • Economic power is crucial in trade relations, economic sanctions, and development assistance. States with significant economic power can influence global markets and international economic policies.

  1. Global Governance:

  • Power dynamics shape the functioning of international organizations, such as the United Nations, World Trade Organization, and International Monetary Fund. The influence of powerful states often determines the agendas and outcomes of these institutions.


Power is considered an essential element of IR theories because it fundamentally shapes the interactions and outcomes in the international system. Whether through coercion, attraction, or economic influence, power dynamics are central to understanding the behavior of states and other actors in global politics. Different IR theories offer various perspectives on the nature and importance of power, but they all recognize its critical role in shaping international relations. By examining power from multiple angles, IR scholars and practitioners can better understand and navigate the complexities of global politics.

9. Discuss the debates surrounding the idea of international order?

The concept of international order refers to the arrangement of power, rules, and institutions that govern interactions among states and other international actors. This order can be shaped by formal agreements, norms, and the distribution of power. Debates around international order are central to the field of International Relations (IR), reflecting differing perspectives on how the global system should be organized, maintained, and reformed. This essay explores the various debates surrounding international order, examining key theories and the challenges facing the current international order.

Realist Perspective on International Order

  1. Balance of Power:

  • Realists argue that international order is primarily maintained through a balance of power, where states ensure no single state becomes too powerful. The balance of power is a dynamic and often fragile arrangement that can lead to stability or conflict.

  • The realist perspective emphasizes the anarchic nature of the international system, where no central authority exists, and states must rely on their own capabilities and alliances to maintain order.

  1. Hegemonic Stability Theory:

  • Some realists and neorealists contend that a stable international order is most likely when there is a single dominant power, or hegemon, that can enforce rules and norms. This hegemonic stability theory suggests that the presence of a hegemon can provide public goods, such as security and open markets, which contribute to global stability.

  • The United States' role after World War II is often cited as an example of hegemonic stability, where American leadership and institutions like the United Nations and Bretton Woods system helped establish a liberal international order.

Liberal Perspective on International Order

  1. International Institutions:

  • Liberals argue that international institutions play a crucial role in maintaining order by facilitating cooperation, reducing transaction costs, and providing mechanisms for dispute resolution. Institutions like the United Nations, World Trade Organization, and International Monetary Fund are seen as essential components of a stable international order.

  • These institutions help establish norms and rules that govern state behavior, promoting predictability and reducing the likelihood of conflict.

  1. Democratic Peace Theory:

  • Liberal scholars suggest that the spread of democracy contributes to international order. Democratic peace theory posits that democracies are less likely to go to war with each other, thus the proliferation of democratic states leads to a more peaceful international system.

  • The promotion of democracy and human rights is viewed as a way to enhance global stability and order.

Constructivist Perspective on International Order

  1. Social Constructs and Norms:

  • Constructivists argue that international order is not solely determined by material factors but is also shaped by social constructs, identities, and norms. The international order is seen as a product of shared understandings and collective identities.

  • Changes in norms, such as the acceptance of human rights and the principle of non-intervention, can lead to shifts in the international order.

  1. Role of Ideas and Discourse:

  • Constructivists emphasize the role of ideas and discourse in shaping international order. The way states and other actors conceptualize and talk about order influences their behavior and the structure of the international system.

  • For example, the idea of a "rules-based international order" reflects a normative commitment to certain principles and practices that guide state behavior.

Critical and Postcolonial Perspectives on International Order

  1. Power and Inequality:

  • Critical theorists and postcolonial scholars highlight the power asymmetries and inequalities inherent in the current international order. They argue that the existing order often reflects the interests of powerful states and perpetuates historical injustices and economic disparities.

  • The dominance of Western powers in shaping international institutions and norms is seen as a form of neo-imperialism that marginalizes the Global South.

  1. Calls for Reform:

  • There are calls for reforming the international order to make it more inclusive and equitable. Proposals include restructuring international institutions to give greater voice and representation to developing countries and addressing issues like climate change, poverty, and global health from a more equitable perspective.

  • The rise of emerging powers, such as China and India, also challenges the existing order and prompts debates on how to accommodate new actors and interests in a reformed international system.

Challenges to the Current International Order

  1. Rise of Nationalism and Populism:

  • The resurgence of nationalism and populism in various parts of the world challenges the liberal international order. Nationalist leaders often prioritize sovereignty and national interests over multilateral cooperation, leading to tensions and disruptions in the international system.

  • Brexit and the America First policy under President Trump are examples of this trend, reflecting a backlash against globalization and international institutions.

  1. Shifts in Global Power:

  • The shifting balance of power, particularly the rise of China, poses significant challenges to the current international order. China's growing economic and military capabilities and its Belt and Road Initiative signal its intention to play a more prominent role in shaping global norms and institutions.

  • This shift raises questions about the future of U.S. hegemony and the potential for a new, multipolar order.

  1. Global Crises:

  • Global crises, such as climate change, pandemics, and cyber threats, highlight the limitations of the current international order. These transnational challenges require collective action and cooperation, yet the existing order often struggles to mobilize effective responses.

  • The COVID-19 pandemic exposed weaknesses in global health governance and the need for more robust international coordination.


Debates surrounding the idea of international order reflect the complexities and evolving dynamics of the global system. Different theoretical perspectives offer varied explanations for how order is established, maintained, and challenged. While the current international order faces significant challenges, including rising nationalism, shifts in global power, and transnational crises, the ongoing debates underscore the need for adaptive and inclusive approaches to global governance. Understanding these debates is crucial for addressing contemporary issues and fostering a more stable and equitable international order.

10. Write an essay on the future trajectories of IR discipline.

The field of International Relations (IR) has continuously evolved since its inception, adapting to global changes and emerging challenges. As the world faces unprecedented transformations in technology, politics, and society, the IR discipline is poised for significant shifts. This essay explores the future trajectories of IR, considering the influence of contemporary issues, methodological advancements, and evolving theoretical paradigms.

Emerging Global Challenges

  1. Technological Advancements:

  • The rapid development of artificial intelligence (AI), cybersecurity, and biotechnology will profoundly impact IR. The discipline will increasingly focus on the implications of these technologies for national security, privacy, and international cooperation.

  • IR scholars will need to address the geopolitical ramifications of technological dominance, particularly the rivalry between major powers like the United States and China in AI and quantum computing.

  1. Climate Change and Environmental Issues:

  • Climate change will remain a critical issue, driving new research agendas in IR. Scholars will explore the role of international institutions, state and non-state actors, and global governance mechanisms in addressing environmental crises.

  • The discipline will also examine the intersection of climate change with issues such as migration, conflict, and economic development, emphasizing the need for sustainable policies.

  1. Global Health:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of global health in IR. Future research will likely focus on the role of international organizations like the World Health Organization, the impact of pandemics on global stability, and the politics of vaccine distribution.

  • IR will also explore the interplay between health security and other aspects of international security, such as bioterrorism and the health implications of climate change.

Methodological Advancements

  1. Interdisciplinary Approaches:

  • The future of IR will see greater integration with other disciplines, including economics, sociology, and environmental science. Interdisciplinary approaches will provide more comprehensive insights into complex global issues.

  • Collaborative research efforts will combine qualitative and quantitative methods, enhancing the robustness of IR studies.

  1. Big Data and Computational Methods:

  • The use of big data and computational methods will revolutionize IR research. These tools will enable scholars to analyze large datasets, uncover patterns, and make predictions about international trends.

  • Advanced statistical techniques and machine learning will become more prevalent, allowing for more precise and data-driven analyses of international phenomena.

Theoretical Evolutions

  1. Post-Western IR:

  • There is a growing recognition of the need to decolonize IR and incorporate non-Western perspectives. Future IR scholarship will likely emphasize diverse theoretical frameworks, drawing on indigenous knowledge systems and perspectives from the Global South.

  • This shift will challenge traditional Eurocentric paradigms and promote a more inclusive understanding of global politics.

  1. Constructivism and Normative Theories:

  • Constructivism, with its focus on the social construction of international realities, will continue to gain prominence. Future research will delve deeper into the role of norms, identities, and discourse in shaping international relations.

  • Normative theories, which address ethical and moral dimensions of global politics, will also become more important. Issues such as human rights, global justice, and ethical implications of technological advancements will be central to IR debates.

  1. Critical Theories:

  • Critical theories, including Marxism, feminism, and postcolonialism, will continue to challenge the status quo and offer alternative perspectives on global issues. These theories will highlight power asymmetries, inequalities, and the voices of marginalized communities.

  • Future IR research will benefit from the critical examination of existing power structures and the advocacy for more equitable and just global governance.

Global Power Dynamics

  1. Rise of Emerging Powers:

  • The rise of emerging powers, particularly China and India, will reshape the global order. IR scholars will study the implications of this shift for global governance, regional stability, and international institutions.

  • The future of IR will involve analyzing the strategies of these emerging powers, their interactions with established powers, and their roles in shaping global norms and institutions.

  1. Multipolarity and Power Transition:

  • The transition from a unipolar to a multipolar world order will be a major focus of IR. Scholars will examine how power transitions impact international stability, the balance of power, and the prospects for cooperation and conflict.

  • The role of middle powers and regional organizations in a multipolar world will also gain attention, highlighting the complexity of contemporary international relations.


The future trajectories of the IR discipline will be shaped by the need to address emerging global challenges, methodological advancements, and evolving theoretical paradigms. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected and complex, IR scholars will need to adopt interdisciplinary approaches, leverage new technologies, and embrace diverse perspectives. By doing so, the discipline can provide valuable insights into the dynamics of global politics and contribute to more effective and equitable solutions to international issues. The evolution of IR will thus be marked by a commitment to understanding and navigating the complexities of the 21st century global order.

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