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PSIR 2A-5.4 Functionalist and Systems Theory – Previous Year Questions – Solved

Model Answers to PYQs (2018-2023)

1] In what ways the functionalist approach in International relations help in maintaining peace and order in global politics? [2023/15m/200w/2b]

The functionalist approach, initiated by David Mitrany, focuses on the functional cooperation and integration of states, emphasizing the role of international organizations, institutions, and agreements in promoting peace and order in global politics.

Functionalism encourages states to collaborate on shared functional issues, such as trade, public health, and environmental protection. It suggests that by addressing common challenges, states can build trust and reduce the potential for conflict.

Functionalism advocates for the establishment of international organizations, like the United Nations (UN) and its specialized agencies, to facilitate cooperation and manage global issues. These organizations provide forums for dialogue, negotiation, and dispute resolution.

Economic cooperation and integration, as promoted by functionalist approaches, can lead to increased economic interdependence between states. When states have significant economic ties, they are less likely to engage in military conflicts that could disrupt those ties.

Functionalism supports efforts to transform conflicts into cooperative relationships. By identifying shared interests and common goals, states can move from confrontation to cooperation.

While the functionalist approach has its merits in promoting peace and order in global politics, it is not without criticisms. Critics argue that functionalism may oversimplify international relations by focusing too narrowly on cooperation and integration, sometimes neglecting power politics and security concerns.

Nevertheless, the functionalist approach remains a valuable perspective in the field of IR, particularly in addressing contemporary global challenges that transcend national borders. [227 words]

2] Critically examine the Functionalist approach to the study of international relations. [2018/15m/200w/4c]

Functionalist approach, given by David Mitrany, talks about the process of integration among states. The approach is expressed in the formulation ‘form follows function

The idea is that international cooperation should begin by dealing with specific transnational problems (such as disease control) where there is some prospect of applying specialised technical knowledge and where the success of ad hoc functional arrangements will hopefully lead to further efforts to replicate the experience in an ever-widening process. And over time the principle of territorial and legal sovereignty will weaken.

The approach was used to explain European integration, and to fulfil the dream of the formation of a United States of Europe, constituting the ever-warring nation-states of Europe. The European Coal and steel community was founded in 1952, and in 1957 it evolved into the European Economic Community. Eventually, the European Union was formed in 1993.

Critics argue that it is not possible to separate technical from political issues as expected by the functionalists. Moreover, it overemphasis the willingness of the states to hand over the responsibilities to the institutional structure. furthermore, it is not evident that International organisations are capable of acquiring a level of popular legitimacy as the states. Functionalism also failed to become the basis of the Integration of other regions. Even European Union witness the exit of Britain and faced a cooperative crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a prescriptive theory, functionalism makes a lot of sense, However, the practical implementation is often faced with numerous factors not contemplated in theory and always remains a challenge. [257 words]

The post contains answers to the last 6-year papers i.e. (2023-2018). Answers to the previous year questions from 2013-2017 are a part of our book PSIR Optional Model Answers to PYQs (2013-2022)

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