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GLB5110 Foundation of International Relations: Home

Course Description

This course is to help students to understand the basic concepts and the major issue areas of contemporary international relations. It will focus on ideas about international relations and introduce major theoretical approaches in the academic study of international relations. The key theories and approaches to be examined include: realism and neo-realism; theories about war, security and the use of force in international relations; classical liberalism, globalization, neo-Marxist and critical theory approaches to international relations, and transformation in world politics. It seeks to provide not only an overview of the key theoretical debates, but also a ‘toolkit’ of concepts that students can use to analyze international relations.

Recommended Books

The Tragedy of Great Power Politics

Mearsheimer develops his own theory of international politics in this book, and he names it as “offensive realism”. This book is organized around six questions dealing with power. First, why do great powers want power? Second, how much power do states want? Third, what is power? How is that pivotal concept defined and measured? Fourth, what strategies do states pursue to gain power, or to maintain it when another great power threatens to upset the balance of power? Fifth, what are the causes of war? Sixth, when do threatened great powers balance against a dangerous adversary and when do they attempt to pass the buck to another threatened state?

The Economic Limits to Modern Politics

This book collects 5 essays focusing on the limits set to modern politics by economic structures, processes, and activities. Istvan Hont focuses on the specific limit to politics set by the imperative need of modern nations to succeed in international trade. J. G. A. Pocock presents that the efficacy of modern politics has increased concurrently with the increase in the efficacy of economics arrangements. Frank Hahn believes that efficacy rises in the combination of economics and politics. Robert O. Keohane argues that liberalism has better effects in promoting cooperation, peace than the major politically-tested alternatives. John Dunn discusses general theoretical elements necessary for constructing modern political theories of institutions.

Recommended Databases