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Theories of International Relation. “Maria Full of Grace” Film Research Paper

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Updated: Nov 26th, 2021

The global arena has experienced many changes thus hoping that the future will bring some hope for peace and welfare. The two World Wars succeeded by the Cold War made people think that nothing more terrific will happen in future. However, the expectations have not been surpassed and the world still witnesses the international conflicts whose major corner stones are social and economical politics based on racism and gender discrimination (Jones et al. 2001, 2). Hence, the international relation theories appeared as a science whose primary purpose was to define the alternative ways of eliminating war and shaping a stable and peaceful society. Gradually, many scholars developed their theories of the conflict resolutions. The researchers attempted to interfere with main problems of human relationship and to answer what factors could facilitate the international cooperation. The movie Maria Full of Grace is the story that reflects all the hardships of international relationships. The film also dwells on the economic and social problems that exist in the countries of the third world.

In the film, a Columbian 17 years-old girl Maria, who works at the flower factory, is the only hope for her family to survive. When she learns that she is pregnant, she, nevertheless, refuses to marry her future child’s farther. The girl appears to be in a desperate need of money thus looking for any job opportunity. So Maria decides to become a drug mule traveling from Columbia to New York. Her best friend, Blanca, joins her since she believes that is the only way to survive from the awful job and bored life. In the film, the girls are not treated like victims but as the volunteers that consciously choose this way of life. Anyway, the Maria is the victim of the economic and political pressures and the movie brightly depicts the vices of society and human relationships. The thrust of the story is focused on the feministic experience of the Third World women who strive to be independent and individual. The trip from Columbia to New York symbolizes the existence of cultural, social, and economical gap between the two different worlds. This gap identifies the impossibility to overcome corruption and injustice in the international society where humans dehumanize other humans. The story also illustrates the migration process and the way the immigrants are treated by the boarder controllers. The ordinary interpretation of the daily life routines serves as the grey background for the ordinary but distinctive characters that managed to make the persuasive decisions. The film is not about drugs industry but about challenges caused by current social conditions. Through the retrospective of this story, the current development of international relationships gives rise to the development of different theories. As the film exemplifies the story of women in Columbia who are brave enough to face the dangers of malicious society, it also enlarges on the discussion of such trends of the international relations as feminism, pluralism and globalism.

The above shows what is the main purpose of the international relations theories. The manifestation of the human relations causes many issues to discuss and many trends to appear. Relying on the film, many problems of international relational emerge due to the negative effects of the evil and corrupted groups of individuals. Government leaders or members of the advisory groups could control thousands of even millions of minds (Jones 2001, 21). On the other hand, the individuals are greatly influenced by mass culture thus showing the global context of the social relations.

From the feministic angle, international relation theory from the feministic angle accentuates the gender relations as empirical factors. The scope of this approach lies in the marginalization based on the sexist stereotypes (Ackerly et al 2006, 1). The development of feminist international relationships has greatly advanced since the eighties of the twentieth century. As the result, there have appeared different feminist methodologies that are rather relevant in studying the global trends. Ackerly is confident that “as states, conflict, institutions, security, and globalization cannot be studied without analyzing gender, gender cannot be studied without analyzing these subjects and concepts” (2006, 4). In this respect, gender issues provoke the consideration of gender conflicts and the way the feminism refers to the state.

Based on the above, the feminism in the international relations builds its own concept of the social culture. Feminism has been always relevant to the state issues, especially when the question concerned the rise of feminism in the undeveloped countries. For women in the Third World, society and state are rather complicated and provokes spaces for revolt and negotiation. Throughout the history, the feminist movements strive to break the moral norms of civil society that stipulate hostility and humility for women. The third world society triggers the emergence of revolt spirit among women revealing braveness, pride and willfulness (Afshar 1996 32).

The gender awareness considerably increased in the post-modern period since it becomes more involved in the world policy (Sylvester, 209). Nowadays, this notion embodies not only female movement but also the male side as the opposition to it. From the feminist point of view, men have taken the control of knowledge whose power excludes the women’s interference into the international relations. In this respect, females are just the observers but active participants of world interactions since they are beyond the control of information. The resolution is reached through the liberal feminism that involves political integration.

Viewing the film, lack of knowledge and possibilities closes Maria’s way to a better life where men control the situation. The story reveals Maria’s resignation since ignorance does not give an access to civil society marginalized by the prejudice and stereotypes. The choice made by the heroines is also due to the limited possibilities in her native society where there is an explicit negligence of human. Maria Full of Grace is a realistic view on the inequality of rights and freedom of choice.

Another theory of international relations lies in the pluralistic approach to this academic field. Kauppi puts forward four assumptions of the pluralistic vision (1999, 199). The first one constitutes that the international politics is dependent on the nongovernmental establishments and organizations. Hence, international organization plays a significant role since they supervise, adjust, and implement the dispute between the states. Nongovernmental organizations that defend the human rights also contribute to the international welfare. Such kind of transitional organizations accelerate the understanding the new strategy in politics of each country. Secondly, the pluralist representatives consist of the individual groups where the decision taking is carried out by coalition or party but not by a psychical person. Then, the role of pluralism also lies in the realistic view on the problem thus striving to impose the obligation on the state as a rational decision maker. Finally, the pluralistic approach suggests the multidimensional method to the problem resolution. Considering this, pluralistic establishments must analyze social, economical, and political aspects that provoke the conflicts between the countries.

The liberal coloring of liberalism implies that every individual is treated according to the rights and freedoms that internationally accepted. Moreover, liberal pluralism implies that traditions, customs, as well as language are highly respected. The liberal organizations defend the equal opportunities and possibilities for the development thus introducing the norms and standards for the governments to follow (Kauffi). Regarding this, the film under consideration shows a in-depth pluralistic approach thus saving the language, the emotional charge of the characters. The fact that the actors are predominantly Latinos and the preferred language is also native. The director managed to render the social system of Columbia and the people’s behavior. The main heroine is also embodies the qualities of Latino mentality. On the other hand, the nihilistic noted presented in this film stipulate that the international organizations are reluctant to act in favor of the undeveloped countries. In general, the screened stories about Latinos and Latin America are only 14% of coverage due to the cu budget and small audience (Mayer et al. 2008, 62). In that case, Marston work is a great contribution to the pluralistic view development.

As the world is the edge of globalization, the application of this approach is widespread due to many reasons. First of all, globalist trends are the result of interdependent cooperation and programs between the countries. Certainly, globalism in the international relations lies in the introduction of the identity and unanimity. As there appeared numerous international organizations that act within the state but not beyond it, the globalism could be partially indentified with monopolist notes. Second, due to the fact that globalism is opposite to the pluralism, it rejects independency and individuality. The universal approach distorts the idea about the language culture because of the emergence of mass culture. Finally, globalization could be identified with the international relations since this phenomenon discovers the essence of globalization (Koffman 1996, 175).

The interaction between the political geography and international relations is concept of universalism. The territorial issues always matters in the problem of migration where this global problem is viewed through the individualistic approach. Thus, European Community is always concerned with a social and industrial space that are enacted into the world problem resolution. However, this invasion provokes cultural claims since the highlighting political issues cultural issues are completely ignored (Kofman 1996, 176).

Regarding the above mentioned, Maria Full of Grace is an outright protest of globalization. Here, Marston opposes universalism to individuality and shows the peculiar mentality of Columbian people through the actions of main heroes. The film accepts the globalization but shows the negative outcomes in political and cultural terms (Pincione 2006, 88). Nonetheless, the story reveals the global problem in terms of international relations. Hence, the director expresses his protest against the drug industry that involves the people from the third world as the labor force and as an effective means earning money.

Global issues in the film are also uncovered through expanding of the capitalist relationships and problem of unemployment. The film shows that female employment market in Latin America encounter many gender the capitalist integration that captures the agricultural sector resulting in the dramatic unemployment increase. The lost of land and the property and broadens the gap between the capitalist and peasant families for whom land was the only source of income (Robinson 2008, 73). The film is the image of exploitation abuse where men are the employers and women are the employees. Even the scene of the drug transportation shows that all hard work executed by women is controlled by men. Arising from the all above, Marston presents rather his support of pluralistic view by criticizing the global trend and its negative influence on the mentality and cultural heritage. He emphasizes the consequences of universalism rather than its preconditions.

Finally, as we live in the capitalistic world, a considerable attention is paid to the material and economic values rather to the ethical and moral issues. The main object of the capitalist world is class. In this respect, the film shows the distinct distinction of the working class and the capitalist class thus excluding the possibility of entering the upper class. As people are deprived of the any opportunity for promotion, they are doomed to be inferior. On the other hand, the film shows the dependency of these classes on each other excluding the absolute isolation (Berberoglu 2003, 52).

Globalization reunites other approaches of international theories in one complicated retrospective in the film. Here, the stories show the interconnection gender issues and liberal pluralism. Thus, the film shows that capitalist system is presented with patriarchic system in the flower industry as well as in the drug smuggling business. Unequal situation and no opportunity to resist force the character to subject to the circumstance and to the new class relations. Further, the globalism negatively affects the pluralism development in terms of the human rights observance. The fact is that in the countries of the third world, Columbian are still deprived of rights and freedoms and are more limited in power rather than the highly developed countries. In that regard, globalization germinated diversity rather than justice and equality.

Judging upon the film there exist, there exists the similarity of feminism and pluralism. Hence, feminism justifies pluralism since its major purpose is to change the women’s position in society. As it can be viewed, both trends justify the liberal approach. Blandy and Congdon state that “feminism celebrates pluralism; it recognizes the ever-pressing needs in today’s world to acknowledge differences related to age, class and race as well as gender” (1991, 17). In the film, the gender and race discrimination is obvious. Maria is the victim of racial stereotypes and gender inequality. Drug smugglers intentionally propose to become a drug mule simply because she is a Latino.

In conclusion, such international trends as pluralism, feminism, and globalism are explicitly presented in the movie. However, the film manifests one theory and criticizes others. Regarding this, the director of the film positively highlights the pluralistic view in terms of liberal approach that defends the cultural and national variety. At the same time, the film is the protest against globalization in the international relations and gender and racial inequality. Finally, the film reveals the negative consequences of the capitalist integration into the agricultural countries. Therefore, the film touches upon numerous issues that disclose the problems of international society.


Ackerly, Brooke A., Stern Maria, True Jacqui. 2006. Feminist methodologists for international relations. UK: Cambridge University Press.

Ashar, Haleh. 1996. Women and Politics in the Third World. New York: Routledge.

Berberoglu, Berch 2003. Globaliztion of capital and the nation-state: imperialis, class struggle and the state in the age of global capitalism. US: Rowman &Littlefield.

Blandy, Douglas Emerson, Gonglon Kristin G. 1991. US: Popular Press.

Jones, Barry R. J., Jones Barry J. R., Jones Peter, Dark Ken R. 2001. Introduction to the international relations: problems and perspectives. Great Britain: Manchester University Press.

Kauffi, Mark & Viotti, Paul. 1999. International Relations Theories: Realism, Pluralism, Globalism and Beyond. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

Kofman, Eleonore, & Youngs, Gillian. 1996. Globalization: theory and practice. US: Continium International Publishing Group.

Marston, Joshua Maria Full of Grace. (2004). DVD Catalina Sandino Moreno.

Mayer, Oliver & Nericcio, William Anthony. 2008. US: Lulu.com.

Pincione, Guido & Teson, Fernando R. 2006. Rational Choice and democratic deliberation: a theory of failure. UK: Cambridge University Press.

Robinson, William I. 2008. Latin America and Global Capitalism: A Critical Globalization Perspective. US: JHU Press.

Sylvester, Christine. 1994. Feminist theory and international relations in a postmodern era. UK: Cambridge University Press.

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