International Relations and Art

In the 21st century, international politics practices have endeavoured to explore how theoretical and political approaches to international relations have been emerging. Even though most of the approaches to international relations and political theories are still pegged to the principles of mimetic, there is considerable research that has attempted to explore the international relations representation. This research has provided an aesthetic perspective to the international politics representation. In a nutshell, the new perspective has come up as a due change in the production of knowledge in the world of international relations and global politics. In the 1980s, postmodernist scholars challenged the international theory that was founded on positivism. After this turn of events, several subsequent international relations and political implications became possible. These implications included the introduction of cultures and the state centric of international violence. The other turn of events that emerged in 1990s was where some international relation scholars have explored the proposition of the postmodern critique. These scholars have explored various forms of global politics, including the approaches based on literature, music, cinema, and other forms of art that extend into popular culture. The aesthetic approaches have started a critical process that broadens the understanding of international relations beyond the narrow academic approach that has entrenched global political problems in an attempt to solve those problems (Balio 1993).


The aesthetic approach has been adopted by international societies and audience, regardless of geographical position, race, gender, and nationality, and is formed from various cultures and ideologies of different authors of aesthetic works and literature. The literature has been used as a platform to bring together diverse internationals who appreciate the diversity of international politics, culture, and economy. The 21st century scholars have analysed international politics and economic competition in terms of international relations theories, which are the platforms for global cultural practices that are covered in global literature as a tool for communication (Franklin, 2005). International aesthetic ideologies are expressed in literatures that are obtained from different cultures. Weber believed that the society is established on facts and stories. Therefore, the IR learners in the 21st century are supposed to integrate the international concept of literature and interpretation of various international relation works. This will allow the learners to embrace the culture, political and economic diversity as outlined in aesthetic approach to international relations. This is possible through a transformative learning process, which fully engages the learner into the environment of learning.

Weber emphasizes the application of written material instead of audio in learning and teaching process. Considering that different cultural literary works are written on the cultural background of people engaged in its production, a well-written literature material would give the reader a chance to analyse the plot (cultural background), characters (community), and setting, among others. The readers will then interpret what the book implies, based on the social background of the book writer (Franklin 2005).

There are different interpretations that can be given to any form of art, which indicates that literature may be applied in different situations, and the interpretations depend on the person. Weber categorizes ideologies into two groups, namely conscious and unconscious ideologies. The conscious ideologies are based on the theories that are recognized and are held consciously by society, for example, realism or socialism construction, among others. These are the theories of international relations, and the roles they play are significant in the political and socioeconomic practice of the world. The unconscious ideologies, on the other hand, are common instincts of individuals; the worldview and stories beyond the international relations theories. These theories function by making a specific cultural and ideological value appear universal, natural, and purely empirical. They, therefore, take the political socioeconomic aspect of society to the ideological aspect of life. These theories can only be understood through literature by people like Marx’s and his theory of international relations.

Dimensions of political rivalry vary from one nation to the other, depending on how topics are represented and what ideas are used to convince others. This implies that its weight will depend on the literary techniques used to pass the message. International relations theory is the study of international socioeconomic relations from a theoretical perspective. It attempts to provide a logical framework upon which international relations can be analysed. Some international theories borrow from ancient literature (Franklin 2005). Weber (2005) used an illustration such as Lord of the Flies, which is a traditional approach. Others may use oral traditions, while still others use poetry, which carries many emotions and attitudes. On the other hand, drama or cinema may be used for the similar purpose.


Writers of film scripts use their works to criticize political rivalries and socioeconomic crises with sarcasm, or use tragedy to pass the intended message across. For instance, the First World War was criticized for various issues, among them being social injustice and struggle for power through cinema. Realist theorists point out that rivalry during the WW1 was based on the struggle for control over global politics and seeking majority support. Cinema, such as A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway, was used to illustrate the social injustices that happened during the WW1; it was the film that could address the issue clearly. Some aspects may pass unnoticed when reading the text, however this does not happen with films. Critical analysis should be done when viewing a film addressing ethnicity, racism, and political upheavals, among others. A viewer in the USA and down in Africa might watch a film and analyse it differently, but the issues and themes it brings up are normally applicable to any society. This shows how dynamic cinema art has been. The issues that Philippine society faces are the same as the ones Vietnam faces, but that can only be compared best through cinema. Cinema can, therefore, be integrated in international relations, because it is relevant and alive (HO & Nurse 2005).

Bleiker (2008) perceived international relations through an extensive perspective of international politics. Bleiker used aesthetic representation to address social political issues through cinema. It is the skill the artist has applied in his work to make it appealing and memorable. There have been, for example, films and documentaries about the Rwanda Genocide of 1994, which have been watched internationally and become famous. The filmmakers used certain aspects when producing the film to make it a conveyer of the desired message to the international community.

The writers of a novel also put in mind certain literary devices to appeal to their audience. It brings out literature as a tool for entertainment with a therapeutic effect, which occurs after watching a certain film that ends well or a novel that has a logical ending. Students doing international relations can use this text for relaxing and familiarizing themselves with the authors, poets, musicians, scriptwriters, and filmmakers. It avoids future confrontations or conflict. This can be illustrated in terms of causes of certain incidents and their perpetrators. It can be shown on a comedy and make the audience laugh at their "foolishness” or shortcomings, as well as make them rectify their mistakes. It can also be done through epics or ballads, poems and fictional work, which are related to the topic. In his article, Bleiker comments about international politics and says there is nothing harder than to notice the obvious that was not noticeable before. Literature helps us be critical and analytical (Rodri%u0301guez & Beck 2008).

A film is the most narratively sophisticated aesthetic fiction and a profound mean of inculcating the largest symbolic order. By presenting how the protagonists live, a film shows that human beings are protagonists of their own lives.

About a century after Lumiere asserted by mistake that there the future of cinema was in jeopardy, it has emerged as one of the most influential tools for political bargaining. In the course of its history, the cinema industry would be a space for refuge, such as it was during the period of the Great Depression in the United States. Back in 1910, approximately 26 million people were watching films every week. Nazi Germany used cinema for propaganda purposes, since the medium was suitable in providing national self-reliance. In 1917, Lenin referred to cinema as the most influential form of art. Whenever the US government has faced a difficulty in solving its socioeconomic and political issues, Hollywood has always been used to reinstate the world domination.

The US is the world superpower presently. Her superiority has been present in various aspects, such as politics, military, economics, and entertainment. Hollywood, as the centre of global entertainment, has impacted people around the world both negatively and positively; it has also been the trendsetter for entertainment industries globally. To attain this height, Hollywood has applied modern technologies, having influenced the world into thinking that every movie from Hollywood had to be cool and popular.

According to Plato, a Greek philosopher, anyone who makes a story, has the power to control the society (Slater & Taylor 1999).

The same way the US has proved its power to the world, they have used Hollywood to influence global ideology through their propaganda and exaggeration of their technological advancement.  Just like the two faces of a coin, the Hollywood movies have both positive and negative impacts on the global development. Jie claimed that Hollywood films were a cultural invasion. The optimists argue that the world should embrace American movies since they are at the top of the human culture.

It is through the Hollywood movies that the world has been convinced that American culture is superior to others, awarding American people respect around the world.


Music such as Songs of Redemption by Bob Marley from Jamaica have been used to uncover social injustices related to the slave trade and discrimination.

The basic changes promoting the shifting process of music focused on the instrumentation, texture, and function. Composers such as Bob Marley have used their music to promote the message of international magnitude concerning discrimination and social injustice during the WW1. This has helped in improving the relations among various individuals and students learning about international relations as their major. However, with the intention of clear comprehension, the three forms of literature have developed simultaneously with the development of international relations. It is also essential to discuss the peculiarity in Baroque and Renaissance instrumental music, that is instrumentation.

Various composers contributed to changes during this epoch. For example, composers such as Guillaume Dufay, Joaquin Desprez, and Pierluigi di Palestrina commonly focused on developing faultless, stylish musical textures that complied with very severe regulations. It was, to a certain extent, concentrating on articulating ideas or emotions. This did not mean the music was not a moving and beautiful tool of communicating international matters. The composers were engaging listeners into a careful theoretical beauty of the musical pieces, somewhat with the emotion in mind. Various composers used different methods to promote shifting of the music. With connection to diverse pieces, composers were competent enough to transform changes and thereby spreading them internationally.

However, this was because of imitation and the evolution. Literature has evolved with time. Music and fiction films have highlighted issues, such as prostitution, technology, and media. The world is changing and so is the art of communication. African artists have adjusted their works to fit in the modern society while maintaining the traditional touch. The literature has a part in international relations, as the international community appreciates changes in political, economic, and cultural practices based on how they are represented (Strauven 2006).


Art and society are inseparable, and the influence of literature on society is inevitable. Literature can be expressed in various forms, ranging from written texts and oral narration to music. Literature educates the society on various moral issues and societal relationship. The written texts have a lesson derived after a reader reads them. Literature, as discussed earlier, unites different cultures, though people should be careful in embracing a new culture as presented in the arts. Literature, music, and cinema bring international issues to the study of international relations. It allows IR students to understand various cultures. It helps the international relation learner familiarize himself with social, political, and economic aspects of given societies. Literature, music, and cinema, therefore, are fundamental aspects in a society and play a role at the international level. It is through literature, music, and cinema that the global diverse culture is connected. These instruments have been used to communicate about international issues. Without cinema and literature, it would be almost impossible for nations, such as the US, to reinstate their position as the world superpower.  They should, therefore, not be ignored, and it would be logical if they were included as courses of study for the international relations curricula.

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