International relations

International relations (IR), sometimes referred to as international studies and international affairs, is the scientific study of interactions between sovereign states.[2] In a broader sense, it concerns all activities between states—such as war, diplomacy, trade, and foreign policy—as well as relations with and among other international actors, such as intergovernmental organisations (IGOs), international nongovernmental organisations (INGOs), international legal bodies, and multinational corporations (MNCs).[3][4] There are several schools of thought within IR, of which the most prominent are realism, liberalism, and constructivism.

In 2012 alone, the Palace of Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, hosted more than 10,000 intergovernmental meetings. The city hosts the highest number of international organizations in the world.[1]
The field of international relations dates from the time of the Greek historian Thucydides.

International relations is widely classified as a major subdiscipline of political science, along with comparative politics and political theory.[5][6] However, it often draws heavily from other fields, including anthropology, economics, geography, law, philosophy, sociology, and history.[7]

While international politics has been analyzed since antiquity, international relations did not become a discrete field until 1919, when it was first offered as an undergraduate major by Aberystwyth University in the United Kingdom.[5][8] After the Second World War, international relations burgeoned in both importance and scholarship—particularly in North America and Western Europe—partly in response to the geostrategic concerns of the Cold War. The collapse of the Soviet Union and subsequent rise of globalization in the late 20th century presaged new theories and evaluations of the rapidly changing international system.[9]

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