What is the Difference Between International Relations and International Politics

The main difference between international relations and international politics is that the international relations consist of international politics whereas the international politics is the analytical study of the operation of political power within the states as well as among states.

International relations, which is the study of the political interactions of nations as well as non-state actors in the international stage has the same fundamental as international politics. International politics is the study of politics in different countries in the world. However, these two differ in their approaches; international relations analyses the manner of the political as well as non-political relations among state as well as non-state actors, unlike international politics.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is International Relations 
     – Definition, Scope, Characteristics 
2. What is International Politics
     – Definition, Scope, Characteristics
3. What is the Relationship Between International Relations and International Politics
     – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between International Relations and International Politics
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Academics, Education, International Relations, International Politics, Politics

Difference Between International Relations and International Politics - Comparison Summary

What is International Relations

International relations is an academic discipline that studies the relationships between states as well as non-state actors in the international stage. Accordingly, it analyses the nature of these interactions (both political as well as non-political), their impact on world politics and the dynamics of crisis management.

These interactions may not be necessarily political, but also economic, strategical as well as cultural to some aspect.  Therefore, it can be identified as a discipline that uses the knowledge of international politics to do a critical analysis of their consequences as well as their future endeavors accordingly.

Hence, international politics make the core element of international relations. However, it also includes study areas such as international economy, security, international law, peace and conflict resolutions, which are connected to the social aspects of the states as well. Therefore, it is based on this amalgamation of the study areas along with international politics; international relations takes up the approach to do a critical analysis of the interactions of the varied actors in the international stage.

Main Difference - International Relations vs International Politics

Moreover, international relations, unlike international politics as singular subjects, aims to provide analytical solutions to overcome conflict and crises in the states, territorial disputes, overcoming war situations and maintaining peace, overcoming economic inflations, etc. as well.

What is International Politics

International politics is an academic discipline that studies the operation of political power in the state level as well as among other states in the international stage. Therefore, international politics, in brief, is the study of politics in different countries in the world. Hence, this not only includes the local politics of a state/nation, but also the politics of other countries and the way how their political agendas are manifested through their domestic and foreign policies and their interactions among other states.

Hence, International Politics mainly focuses on how power/political power operates within and between states in the international stage. Therefore, international politics consists of political science, history, economics, geography, which enable the examination of topics such as foreign and economic policymaking, national security and terrorism, human rights, ethnic conflict, terrorism, economic and political development.

Accordingly, international politics also draws conclusions on the future political endeavors and the impact of these political interactions on the other states.

Difference Between International Relations and International Politics

However, pioneering scholars like Hans Morganthou used these two terms interchangeably emphasizing the fact that ‘International Politics as an inalienable part of International Relations.” Nevertheless, these two disciplines are studied as two subjects in the present with regard to their major focus areas.

Relationship Between International Relations and International Politics

International relations include international politics, and it analyses the interactions of the actors in the international stage based on their politics. Hence, international relations focus on international politics. Moreover, initially, international relations was studied as a branch of international politics and vice versa before it was separated as a separate academic discipline. However, they are strongly inter-related concepts and academic disciplines.

Difference Between International Relations and International Politics

Definition

International relations is an academic discipline that studies the relationships (both political as well as non-political) between states as well as non-state actors in the international stage. International politics, on the other hand, is an academic discipline that studies the operation of political power in the state level as well as among other states in the international stage. Thus, this is the main difference between international relations and international politics.

Analysis

International relations provide an in-depth analysis of the outcome of politics and interactions among varied actors in the international stage (both state as well as non-state actors), and their effect on the social, economic sectors in the countries. Also, it enables to overcome the future crises in all the social aspects in global societies. On the other hand, international politics only provide an in-depth analysis of the power operation and the political endeavors of the local as well as global states in the world. Therefore, it enables to foresee the consequences of the political moves in the international stage. Hence, this is another difference between international relations and international politics.

Focus

Focus is also a difference between international relations and international politics. The focus in international relations is broader and wider in comparison to that in international politics while international politics mainly focus on studying the manner in which political power operates within and beyond the states in the international stage.  

Main Department

Besides, international politics falls under the department of political science while international relations falls under the department of International studies or even for political science if there is no separate department

Conclusion

International relations and international politics are highly inter-related academic disciplines, and there is only a thin line of difference between international relations and international politics. However, international relations goes several steps further, unlike international politics, as it analyses the interactions between the actors in the international stage with concern to their political agendas. Therefore, international relations has a broader scope than international politics. This is the difference between international relations and international politics.

Reference:

1. “International Politics (MSc).” Leiden University, Available here.
2. “International Politics.” Department of Political Science, Available here.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Senior Executive Seminar 18-11″ By George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies (Public Domain) via Flickr
2. “Trump and Kim shaking hands in the summit room” By Shealah Craighead –  (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Upen

Upen, BA (Honours) in Languages and Linguistics, has academic experiences and knowledge on international relations and politics. Her academic interests are English language, European and Oriental Languages, Internal Affairs and International Politics, and Psychology.

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