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International Relations - IR

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International Relations-PSC 201
VU
LESSON 04
THE NATION-STATE SYSTEM
Background and Approaches
A nation denotes a common ethnic and cultural identity shared by a single people, while a state is a political
unit with a governance system controlling a territory and its inhabitants.
The nation promotes emotional relationship amongst its members, while states provide political and legal
foundation for the identity of its citizens. The term nation-state has been used by social scientists to denote
the gradual fusion of cultural and political boundaries after a long control of political authority by a central
government. The nation-state plays a dominant role in international relations.
Nation and Government
While governments come and go, a state has more permanence. Students and scholars of international
relations can depend upon the continued existence of a state as a viable political entity.
Historical Background
The Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 created the modern nation-state. The treaty established the principle of
internal sovereignty (preeminence of rulers from other claimants to power) and external sovereignty
(independence from outside powers).
England, Spain and France obtained independence from dominance by the Holy Roman Empire. It is often
said that the Peace of Westphalia initiated the modern fashion of diplomacy as it marked the beginning of
the modern system of nation states. Subsequent wars were not about issues of religion, but rather revolved
around issues of state. This allowed Catholic and Protestant Powers to ally, leading to a number of major
realignments.
Another important result of the treaty was it laid rest to the idea of the Holy Roman Empire having secular
dominion over the entire Christian world. The nation-state would be the highest level of government,
subservient to no others.
Scholars like Machiavelli, Bodin and Grotius defended the authority of the state and provided justification
for the secular state independent from the authority of the Pope.
Approaches to IR
There are three approaches to studying the social-cultural, political and economic forces at work within
different nation-states.
i.
Objective (Attributive) Approach: identifies nationalism and the nation-state in terms of observable
and quantifiable attributes, including linguistic, racial and religious factors.
ii.
Subjective (Emotional) Approach: views nationalism and the nation-state as a set of emotional,
ideological and patriotic feelings binding people regardless of their ethnic backgrounds.
iii.
Eclectic (Synthetic) Approach: A more subjective than objective approach, seeking to
supplement notions of nationalism and patriotism with interethnic interaction and education
processes to explain creation of a common identity.
Further Evolution of Nation-State
State systems underwent further evolution on account of rise of representative government, the industrial
revolution, population explosion, independence of developing countries, economic growth and multilateral
organizations etc.
Relevant Vocabulary
Population explosion: uncontrolled growth of population
Sovereignty: dominion, rule or independence
Multilateral initiatives: joint efforts often involving different nations and with many objectives
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International Relations-PSC 201
VU
Linguistic: concerning language
Quantifiable: scientific or verifiable
Suggested Readings
Students are advised to read the following chapters to develop a better understanding of the various
principals highlighted in this hand-out:
Chapter 2 in `"A Study of International Relations" by Dr. Sultan Khan.
Internet Resources
In addition to reading from the textbook, please visit the following web-pages for this lecture, which
provide useful and interesting information:
International Relations
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_relations
Table of Contents:
  1. WHAT IS INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND WHAT IS ITS RELEVANCE?
  2. APPROACHES TO INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS: THEORIES IN IR
  3. APPROACHES TO INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS:Traditional Approach
  4. THE NATION-STATE SYSTEM:Further Evolution of Nation-State
  5. THE NATION STATE SYSTEM: BASIC FEATURES OF A NATION-STATE
  6. NATIONAL INTEREST:Criteria for Defining National Interest
  7. NATIONAL INTEREST:Variations in National Interest, Relevant Vocabulary
  8. BALANCE OF POWER (BOP):BoP from a historical perspective
  9. BALANCE OF POWER (CONTINUED):Degree of Polarization, Functions of BoP
  10. DIPLOMACY:How Diplomacy Functions, Traditional Versus Modern Diplomacy
  11. DIPLOMACY (CONTINUED):Diplomatic Procedures & Practices, Functions of Diplomacy
  12. COLONIALISM, NEO-COLONIALISM & IMPERIALISM:Judging Colonization
  13. COLONIALISM, NEO-COLONIALISM & IMPERIALISM:Types of Neo-Colonialism
  14. COLONIALISM, NEO-COLONIALISM & IMPERIALISM:Objectives of Imperialism
  15. NEW INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ORDER:Criticism of IEO, NIEO Activities
  16. NEW INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ORDER:Prerequisites for the NIEO
  17. NON-ALIGNMENT MOVEMENT:Origin of NAM, NAMís Institutional Structure
  18. NON-ALIGNMENT MOVEMENT (CONTINUED):Cairo Summit, Egypt - 1964
  19. NON-ALIGNMENT MOVEMENT:Criticism of NAM, NAM and Pakistan
  20. THE COLD WAR AND ITS IMPACTS - INTRODUCING THE COLD WAR PHENOMENON
  21. THE COLD WAR AND ITS IMPACTS (CONTINUED):Truman Doctrine, Marshal Plan
  22. THE COLD WAR AND ITS IMPACTS (CONTINUED):End of the Cold War
  23. DISARMAMENT AND ARMS CONTROL:History of Disarmament
  24. DISARMAMENT AND ARMS CONTROL (CONTINUED):Other Disarmament Efforts
  25. THE RELEVANCE OF INTERNATIONAL LAW IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
  26. THE RELEVANCE OF INTERNATIONAL LAW IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS (CONTINUED)
  27. INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS:Need for IGOs, Categorizing IGOs
  28. INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS (CONTINUED):United Nations, Criticism of the UN
  29. INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS (CONTINUED):European Union, World Bank
  30. THE ROLE OF DECISION MAKING IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
  31. DECISION MAKING (CONTINUED):Rational Actor Model, Group Politics Model
  32. SYSTEMS APPROACH TO IR:Underlying Assumptions, Elements of the System
  33. SYSTEMS BASED APPROACH (CONTINUED) Ė DISTINCT SYSTEMS IN IR
  34. LIBERALISM AND SOCIAL DEMOCRACY:Neoliberalism
  35. LIBERALISM AND SOCIAL DEMOCRACY (CONTINUED):Liberalism vs. Social Democracy
  36. INTEGRATION IN IR:Preconditions for Integration, Assessing Integration
  37. GLOBALIZATION AND ITS IMPLICATIONS:Advocates of Globalization
  38. THE GLOBAL DIVIDE:World Social Forum, Can the Global Divide Be Bridged?
  39. FOCUS ON FOREIGN INVESTMENTS:Pro-poor Foreign Investments
  40. CONFLICT AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION:Components of a Conflict
  41. CONFLICT RESOLUTION:Creative response, Appropriate assertiveness
  42. THE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT:Global Concern for the Environment
  43. THE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT:Environmental Concerns and IR, Some Other Issues
  44. HOW IR DIFFER FROM DOMESTIC POLITICS?:Strategies for altering state behavior
  45. CHANGE AND IR:Continuity in IR, Causality and counterfactuals, IR in a nutshell