Postgraduate Course: International Relations Theory (PGSP11156)
|School||School of Social and Political Science
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||The discipline of international relations is a relatively young academic subject, only emerging as a distinct field within political science in the aftermath of World War I. To differentiate itself from the disciplines of international law and history, its intellectual predecessors, international relations has developed a number of theories of the nature of the international and its constituent parts, which seek to explain, understand, judge and even predict international behaviour. These theories are heavily indebted to previously established traditions in political philosophy and social theory and the ways in which they conceive of the nature of the state and decision makers, history, social scientific explanation and the relationship between politics and morality.
The course is designed to introduce students to the major theoretical and conceptual traditions of international relations as a way to make sense of the complex issues, developments and events constituting the international. The key objective of the course is to introduce students to the most significant orthodox and critical theoretical approaches within international relations. A critical assessment will be made of the principal propositions and arguments of the theories drawn from the diverse traditions of classical realism, neo-realism, neoliberalism, constructivism, poststructuralism, feminism and gender, neo-Marxism and postcolonialism.
Week 1 What is IR theory and why do we need it?
Week 2 Liberalism(s)
Week 3 Realism(s)
Week 4 English School
Week 5 Constructivism
Week 6 Poststructuralism
Week 7 Postcolonialism
Week 8 Feminism/gender
Week 9 Marxism
Week 10 An historiography of IR theory
Week 11 Open guidance and feedback session
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||The final grade of the course is based upon two assessed essays, one is worth 35% of the mark (1500 words) and the other one 65% of the mark (2500 words).
||The feedback of the coursework submitted for this class will concentrate on addressing the following question:
a. Does the assignment address the question set, and with sufficient focus?
b. Does the assignment show a grasp of the relevant concepts and knowledge?
c. Does the assignment demonstrate a logical and effective pattern of argument?
d. Does the assignment, if appropriate, support arguments with relevant, accurate and effective forms of evidence?
e. Does the assignment demonstrate reflexivity and critical thinking in relation to arguments and evidence?
f. Does the assignment demonstrate an autonomous research process resulting in an answer moving beyond the common expectations of the lecture?
g. Is the assignment adequately presented in terms of: correct referencing and quoting; spelling, grammar and style; layout and visual presentation?
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Understand the major theories of International Relations and of the purpose of theory in improving our understanding of the workings of global affairs
- Reflect on the historical development of International Relations theory and the discipline of IR itself
- Critically engage with the concepts of each of the theories under discussion
- Compare, contrast and critically evaluate the key theories of International Relations
- Develop the necessary skills to write in an informed manner on International Relations theory
|Below is a list of textbooks which students might find especially useful throughout the course, especially (though not exclusively) to those who are new to IR theory. These can be used to complement all the required/further weekly readings. |
Baylis, John, Smith, Steve and Owens, Patricia (eds). The Globalization of World Politics. 6th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Booth, Ken and Erskine, Toni (eds.) International Relations Theory Today. London: Polity Press.
Burchill, Scott and Linklater, Andrew (eds.) 2013. Theories of International Relations. 5th ed. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.
Dunne, Timothy, Kurki, Milja and Steve Smith (eds). 2016. International Relations Theories: Discipline and Diversity. 4th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Edkins, Jenny and Maja Zehfuss (eds). 2014. Global Politics. A New Introduction. London: Routledge.
(A textbook based on theoretical approaches but rather on key questions. Largely oriented toward critical theory).
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Course organiser||Dr Andrew Neal
Tel: (0131 6)50 4236
|Course secretary||Mrs Casey Behringer
Tel: (0131 6)50 2456