Methodology in the Study of International Relations

Methodology in the Study of International Relations

Methodology in the Study of International Relations

Methodology in the Study of International Relations

Excerpt

It is generally agreed that the study of a single subject, like international law or international economics, is too little for a broad understanding of international affairs. History offers by far the widest scope, but it is widely agreed that the traditional subject called diplomatic history is unduly narrów. The historical study of international affairs must be considerably extended and remodeled to give the necessary background knowledge of world politics. Such a remodeling meets with difficult methodological problems, but it can undoubtedly be done. In fact, many of the topics which are now being dealt with in the new subject called international relations can, and probably should, be included in the study of history. However, the situation in several countries today seems to be that the historical study of international affairs is being slowly superseded by rival disciplines.

Two methods have gained increasing ground in recent years. One is to choose a field of concentration comprising the international aspects of several disciplines, which in the following pages is called the multidisciplinary method. The other is to study international affairs as a distinct discipline, adopting a general and unitary approach to the subject matter. We are still in a transitional period when it is rather difficult to form a well-founded opinion of what course we should steer. It is, however, clear that even though we should be able to develop a well-proportioned subject dealing with international affairs in general, we cannot . . .

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