Major Approaches to the Study of International Relations

This module aims to provide students with a broad understanding of the main areas of study within the field of international relations (IR). The introductory session addresses the general question as to what constitutes the study of IR. Subsequent sessions examine the major approaches to the discipline (both mainstream and critical), focusing upon the distinctive insights and analyses that they have brought to bear.

Students will gain a comprehensive understanding of the nature of the wide-ranging theoretical debates that have shaped the discipline and will develop an understanding of the importance of questions of theory to the way in which we study IR. More particularly, students will be able:

• To understand the importance and role of theories to the study of IR• To understand the interpretation of the world and of IR put forward by each theory• To identify the central assumptions and features underlying each of those theories• To analyse the points of debate between these theories and critically assess them• To evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each theory• To apply the theoretical tools to the “facts out there” (linking theory with practice)• To develop presentational and organisational skills through the seminar component of the course

Select Bibliography:

Scott Burchill et al., Theories of International Relations, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, Fourth edition, 2009.Tim Dunne et al., International Relations Theories: Discipline and Diversity, second edition, OUP, Oxford, 2010.