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This subject explores key concepts of international relations that have shaped the different theoretical, epistemological, and methodological approaches to studying global politics. This subject builds on the foundations of international relations theory and deepens our understanding of the operations and study of global politics by examining the various approaches and assumptions underpinning the core concepts of the discipline, including: order, sovereignty, the state, globalization, war, and international cooperation.
It sheds light on key debates in the field by unpacking how the different conceptual approaches answer questions on issues including: what is the nature of power? Who are the main actors in global politics? Why does war occur? How has the principle of sovereignty come into being and changed over time? Why is the state the core unit of organising international affairs? What role does the political economy play in global politics? How can we characterise world order and its changes over time? Students will be encouraged to evaluate theoretical assumptions and key debates through the focus on core concepts in international relations and how they relate to timely issues in global politics.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject students should:
- Have an appreciation of the contending theories in and approaches to international relations
- Develop the ability to think critically about these theories and approaches
- Have the ability to apply a variety of theories and approaches to contemporary international relations
- Be able to deploy a range of critical thinking and analytical skills to practical problems
- Be able to demonstrate improved writing and oral skill.
Last updated: 20 February 2024