International relations: A misunderstood disciplineThursday, June 17, 2021
For far too long people have had a misconception of what characterises international relations as a field, a career path, and a study. The definition of international relations is: “The study of the relations of states with each other and with international organisations and certain subnational entities.” (Pfaltzgraff & McClelland, 2020)
Since the inception of man-made organisational and political systems we have been trying to coexist with each other, though conflict seems to be inevitable between varying groups of people, and by extension nation states. We see the promulgation of conflict over the years between states and are sometimes oblivious to the fact that international conflict has real impacts on the general populace of the world. Well, shockingly it does, as is evident with the Israel-Palestine conflict.
International relations is a multidisciplinary area that was created to give light to a subject that, when overlooked, has catastrophic effects. Theorists from Hobbes and Machiavelli brought to the forefront the mere understanding and importance of international relations. It must be acknowledged that the discipline is not limited to law and politics, but it forays into business, economics, health, and as many areas as you can possibly conceptualise.
Over the years, many people who would have not got into studying for a law degree at university or cannot afford to pay for some other area of study would have switched to pursue studies in international relations. That practice has seen many students who are wholly uninterested in the subject area force themselves to understand the tenets therein. Hence, they receive the qualification without any real passion. That practice has created many educated individuals who cannot adequately add to the discourse about the field they studied at the university level — which defeats the purpose of academia.
Notably, international relations is not the field for those who did not get into the fields they really want to pursue. As with medicine, law, and business, if there is no real passion for the understanding of international law, policy, and economics; international relations is not degree for you. On the other hand, people who are really interested in the foreign service, international organisations, and international business, it is the perfect field for them to study. If not, they would be wholly disappointed with their choice and feel unfulfilled after their decision.
As a matter of fact, more needs to be done to sensitise the general public on matters of international importance, because we live in a global world, and that understanding may better inform the ideas that exist in society about international relations as a discipline and an important aspect in our lives as citizens of the world.
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