Levels Of Analysis And The Stu

1548 words - 6 pages


Three levels of analysis, each with its own distinct strength, reveals three different ways of understanding international relations. The first states that all nation-states behave similarly, the second emphasizes the unique internal factors of a nation-state, while the third level of analysis focuses on the individual deciding a state’s course of action. Each level of analysis is useful in the study of international relations. Indeed, used all together, it is not long before arriving at a point where a vast number of explanations for the actions of a country are brought to light. However, to best understand international relations, one level of analysis is more useful than the rest, because it provides the most comprehensive investigation into the conditions which influence a nation’s actions. This, most involved level, is the third level of analysis: it takes into account the not simply the individual who ultimately makes the decision, but the individuals who influence the decision-making individual, as well as what might influence those who exert their influence. Because the third level of analysis is so in-depth, it can discover the deeper reasons behind an action taken by a nation, even possibly finding fault in a conclusion made by the first or second level of analysis. More so, what makes this level the best means to understand international relations is that because the third level of analysis considers what influences might effect the decision-making individual, and therefore it can be seen upon a closer examination that the inferences found in first and second levels of analysis can furthermore be found within the third level of analysis. So then, the third level of analysis is the best level at which to approach the study of international relations.
     As previously stated, the third level of analysis encompasses all the possible influences upon the decision making individual. Unlike level one and level two, the third level of analysis can go beyond the assumption of a monolithic state. In addition, it can do so without losing the ability to consider the state as such. Depending on the model used, the level three analysis can either probe into a deeper dimension to seek out the reasons for a state’s behavior by looking at different groups that influence the decision maker (as in the organizational and bureaucratic models); or, it can maintain the more uncomplicated viewpoint of a monolithic state that can be found in the other levels of analysis by focusing primarily on the decision maker (as in the rational actor model). The third level of analysis also has the ability to, within the models that can view the state as non-monolithic, presume that the different groups have similar interests and share the same hierarchy of goals by use of the organizational model; or, it can explore the presumption that the different groups have different interests by use of the bureaucratic...

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