Actor in International Politics

Topics: International relations, Political science, Sociology Pages: 9 (2604 words) Published: October 2, 2011

The problem of actors is one of the central, and at the same time one of the most controversial in the study of international politics and relations. Indeed, one of the main criteria of international relations is the presence of regular interactions between the social communities geographically separated by political boundaries. 

In international relations, actors are those whose activity goes beyond one state and, therefore, participate in cross-border relations and communications. In other words, in one way or another, any argument about international relations assumes directly a reference to the State with sovereignty as its most important attribute. Take the United States for an example, it is an actor that has a specific preference ordering. That is, it ranks these alternative outcomes in some rational way. Similarly, we can designate the State Department or President Bush for that matter as actors, and they all will have their own preference orderings (Branislav L. Slantchev, 2005). Obviously, when we say “the U.S. is an actor,” we are already deep into abstraction. However, there are several issues: the first is associated with explaining the specifics of these interactions, in other words, their differences from the interactions of non-international character; secondly, there are arguments on the interpretation of the place of the state as an international actor, and hence the very essence of the concept of "actor". In this paper, it is necessary to consider who are the ‘actors’ of world politics and to present alternative positions on this issue through analyzing the definition of “actor” in the international relations and then comparing typologies of international actors on the basis of the goals and objectives of the analysis undertaken. 

The most common term, which denotes in the international relations the interaction of the participants in the global arena, is the term "actor". "Actor” - is any person who actively participates and plays an important role," - wrote Rassett and Starr. In international relations, they emphasize, under the actor should be understood any credibility to any organization, any group or even any individual, able to play a role, influence. ( Rassett & Starr 1981) 

B. Rassett and Starr noted that the term "actor" has a number of advantages. First, it reflects a wide range of interacting communities and, therefore, it is quite comprehensive. Secondly, using it we focus on the behavior of communities, that is why this term helps to understand the essence of community that behaves in a certain way, takes any kind of action. Finally, it helps understand that different actors play different roles, and yet they all participate in creating “a complete performance on the world stage” (Rassett & Starr 1981: 72). Therefore, international actor is an active participant (collective or individual) of international relations, which has the opportunity to independently make decisions and implement the strategy, in accordance with his own understanding of the interests, has a significant and lasting impact on the international system, recognized as such by other actors which take him into account when making their own decisions. (Kaplan 2005)

International actors are considered as structured social communities (or, in special cases, a particular individual) based on the organization or recognized as representing the ideals or interests, which work goes beyond one state and which, therefore, is involved in cross-cultural relationships and communication. Social community can be regarded as an international actor if it has an impact on international relations, has been recognized by the states and their governments, but also has some degree of autonomy in making its own decisions (Kaplan 2005). 

In this case, the organization, company or group having any relations with foreign organizations, enterprises or citizens, are not always able...
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