The Applicability of Systems Theory to International Relations: A Consideration of Three Authors

Publication Year



international relations, systems theory, political science, David Easton, Morton Kaplan, Richard Rosecrance


International Relations | Political Science | Political Theory


This paper is a study of a relatively new and burgeoning area of political science: systems theory. A system is a set of variables which may, or may not, be related. The interesting sets will have some type of interrelationship between the variables. Systems theory involves viewing political activity in terms of systems instead of nation-states, states, international organizations, or other institutional or non-institutional concepts.

We will examine the nature of political theory and systems. This will be followed by a consideration of the work of three authors: David Easton, Morton Kaplan, and Richard Rosecrance. The basic thesis of this paper is that the work of these three authors can be united into a single framework providing greater explanatory power than any one of them alone. Further, the work that has been done by these authors will be shown to be applicable to international relations.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status

Political Science

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