This course provides an introduction to, and critical examination of, contemporary theoretical approaches to world politics. The study of conceptual frameworks in International Relations (IR) is important for how it can enhance our understanding of the dynamics of politics, including why and how the political world takes its existing forms. Theory is also the centre of gravity in the field of IR, providing points of collaboration and contestation between scholars on the nature of international political enquire. The course explores a set of debates that turn around the definition and interpretation of key concepts such as structure, anarchy, power, identity. We will survey the key ‘isms’ of the field, realism, liberalism, constructivism, Marxism and feminism. These will be related to one another historically and conceptually and we will question the perceived distinctiveness of these traditions, by drawing links between them.
The course is equally suitable for non-international relations students and those already familiar with this research field.
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