International relations theory is the study of international relations from a theoretical perspective; it attempts to provide a conceptual framework upon which international relations can be analyzed. Ole Holsti describes international relations theories act as a pair of coloured sunglasses, allowing the wearer to see only the salient events relevant to the theory. An adherent of realism may completely disregard an event that a constructivist might pounce upon as crucial, and vice versa. The three most popular theories are realism, liberalism and constructivism.
International relations theories can be divided into "positivist/rationalist" theories which focus on a principally state-level analysis, and "post-positivist/reflectivist" ones which incorporate expanded meanings of security, ranging from class, to gender, to postcolonial security. Many often conflicting ways of thinking exist in IR theory, including constructivism, institutionalism, Marxism, neo-Gramscianism, and others. However, two positivist schools of thought are most prevalent: realism and liberalism; though increasingly, constructivism is becoming mainstream.
Read more about International Relations Theory: Introduction, Realism, Liberalism, Constructivism, Marxism and Critical Theory, Feminism, English School, Functionalism, State Cartel Theory, Post-structuralism, Post-modernism, Postcolonialism, Evolutionary Perspectives
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