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Idealism vs Realism in International Relations

The international relations schools of thought known as Realism and Idealism identify specific and similar characteristics of actors in the conceptual development of their theories. While many of these characteristics can be generalized as being synonymous between the two theories, both theories make a separate distinction in what specifically constitutes an actor. In Realism, the term “actor” refers directly and solely to the state: a combination of government, leaders, decision-makers, etc, that act as a unitary entity to promote the interests of the state. Idealists however expand on what constitutes an actor to include both the state and people. Not only do the principles of Idealism assert that the state and people should be considered actors, in fact both they…