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By Jill Steans, Lloyd Pettiford, Thomas Diez and Imad El-Anis

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Extra info for An Introduction to International Relations Theory Perspectives and Themes Third edition

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While the conflict itself was horrific, International Relations scholars were initially quite optimistic about the possibilities of ending the misery of war. A new generation of scholars was deeply interested in schemes which would promote cooperative relations among states and allow the realisation of a just and peaceful international order, such as the fledgling League of Nations (see World Example Box, pp. 33–4). This liberal or idealist enterprise rested on the beliefs that people in general are inherently good and have no interest in prosecuting wars with one another.

International Relations is current affairs. Much of what we watch on the news has an international dimension; much of it makes judgements about what is ‘good’ or ‘bad’. However, International Relations is more than simply what happens – it is about how we understand what happens and even how we (and that includes news programmes) come to define some international events as more worthy of coverage than others. International Relations has a clear definition. It should be clear from the above that IR can be many different things to different people.

38 | Chapter 1 ■ Liberalism ANALOGY BOX The cobweb model The analogy of a cobweb is often used to describe the plural complexity of international relations. The image which the cobweb model conveys is an intricate matrix with an enormous number of nodes (that is, points of intersection) which represent the way that the vast number of actors in international relations are connected to one another. From a liberal pluralist point of view, a multiplicity of actors interact in myriad ways. Liberals argue that these relationships are of different types and need not be characterised by conflict.

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