The discipline of International Relations (IR) emerged as a separate academic field of study in the early 20th century. The evolutionary process through which IR acquired the status of an academic discipline can be traced back to several key factors:
- : The emergence of the modern state system in Europe after the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 marked a significant shift in the way in which states interacted with one another. This new system of sovereign states, with its emphasis on territoriality and non-interference in domestic affairs, created a need for scholars to study and understand the dynamics of interstate relations.
- : IR evolved from political science as a distinct subfield. In the late 19th century, political scientists began to develop theories and concepts that focused specifically on international relations. The first International Relations textbook was written by James Lorimer in 1882, and other influential works by scholars like Norman Angell and E.H. Carr soon followed.
- : The catastrophic effects of World War I, and the need to prevent future conflicts, provided a further impetus for the development of IR as a separate academic discipline. The League of Nations, established after the war, also created a need for experts in international affairs.
- : The growth of area studies, particularly after World War II, provided further momentum for the development of IR. As scholars began to study different regions of the world in greater depth, they also became interested in understanding the ways in which those regions interacted with one another.
- : The Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union created a need for experts in international relations who could provide insight into the complex dynamics of this global conflict. Many scholars of IR were called upon to advise governments and military leaders during this period.
- : As IR grew as an academic discipline, it became increasingly interdisciplinary, drawing on insights and methodologies from fields such as economics, sociology, psychology, and anthropology.
Overall, the evolution of IR as a discipline was a gradual and complex process that reflected broader changes in the political and social context in which it emerged. Today, IR continues to be a dynamic and evolving field of study, with scholars working to develop new theories and insights into the complex and interconnected nature of global politics.