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Theories and Issues in International Relations (PO926)

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. After familiarising you with the key theoretical approaches in IR, from Realism to Postcolonialism, the module evaluates 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.