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Theories and Issues in International Relations (PO926)

Theories in International Relations

This module provides an advanced introduction to International Relations (IR) theory; to the key ideas and approaches that scholars working in the discipline use to understand and make sense of the practices of international politics. The module aims to familiarise you with the key theoretical approaches in IR, from Realism to Postcolonialism, to make theory accessible and understandable, and to evaluate theoretical positions in the light of pressing issues in contemporary political life. IR scholars also theorise international cooperation, identity politics, global governance, ethics, and civil society. As such, IR also incorporates within its theories an understanding of the role of a range of other actors besides states including NGOs, private enterprise, and international bodies. A distinctive feature of IR at Warwick is its plurality, openness to competing worldviews, and emphasis on the relationship between theory and practice. We also have particular strengths in critical, interpretive, sociological, pragmatist, and poststructuralist perspectives.

Issues in International Relations

This module aims to familiarise you with theoretical approaches to key issues and practices in contemporary IR, and to evaluate those theoretical positions in the light of pressing issues in contemporary political life. The module animates IR theories via a thematic and issue based approach. Our aim is to critically evaluate the efficacy of different theories (e.g. Realism, Liberalism, Marxism) by exposing them to key issues and case studies. The objective of the module is to promote critical engagement with a wide range of theoretically-driven empirical literature in IR. We ask if theories are changing and/or need to be refined in the light of the changing nature of economic relations and security challenges. The focus is on developing theoretical purchase on the themes and issues we address, such as humanitarian intervention, international terrorism, environmental degradation and the changing nature of warfare. By the end of the module, you should have acquired a sound knowledge of the contribution of different theories of international relations to understanding key issues in IR.

Please note: for students on the MA in International Relations, you will take both parts as a 40 CATS core module. For students on other PAIS MA degrees, you will have the option of selecting one or both of these as 20 CATS modules.