The University of Southampton
Courses

PAIR2001 Theories of International Relations

Module Overview

Although a ‘common sense’ view of world politics is often presented in non-academic contexts, there is little agreement among experts on what international relations is, and how we should think about the discipline. This module enables students to critically examine the conventional wisdom and as a result to gain a more critical understanding of international relations. The module emphasizes that ‘the truth’ about international relations is disputed and analyses competing knowledge claims

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The module seeks to: Offer a thorough grounding in past and contemporary issues in international relations theorising. Enable students to analyse the purpose, coherence and contradictions of contemporary theories of international relations. Provide an overview of the contribution of different theories of international relations to our understanding and explanation of international politics. Enable students to combine empirical knowledge of international politics with theoretical insight in all aspects of the module.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Analyse the purpose, coherence, and contradictions of contemporary theories of international relations
  • Evaluate the contribution of different theories of international relations to our understanding and explanation of international relations
  • Apply IR theories and approaches to better understand different events and processes in the world
  • Summarise the arguments from academic literature in way which presents the core of the academic contribution to knowledge

Syllabus

The syllabus will cover (but not be restricted to): mainstream IR theories (realism, liberalism, structuralism) and more reflective approaches to theorising and understanding international relations (such as critical theory, feminism and constructivism).

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching will comprise a schedule of interactive lectures and seminars, both of which will provide the knowledge and analytical and study skills required to complete this module successfully. Seminars will provide the opportunity for students to engage in an interactive on-line simulation game Statecraft. Students will be working in smaller groups on policy scenarios so that they can acquire better understanding of theories and concepts introduced during the lectures and in assigned reading

TypeHours
Independent Study116
Teaching34
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Jackson and Sorenson. Introduction to International Relations: Theories and Approaches. 

Carlsnaes, Risse, Simmons. Handbook of International Relations. 

Brown, Ainley. Understanding International Relations. 

Baylis, Smith. The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations. 

Burchill, et al.,. Theories of International Relations. 

Dunne, Kurki and Smith. International Relations Theories: Discipline and Diversity. 

Jackson and Sorenson. Introduction to International Relations: Theories and Approaches. 

Burchill, et al. Theories of International Relations. 

Brown, Ainley. Understanding International Relations. 

Carlsnaes, Risse, Simmons. Handbook of International Relations. 

Dunne, Kurki and Smith,. International Relations Theories: Discipline and Diversity. 

Baylis, Smith. The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations. 

Assessment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Exam  (2 hours) 40%
Group Assessment  ( words) 20%
Reaction paper  (1500 words) 40%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (3000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisites

To study this module, you will need to have studied the following module(s):

CodeModule
PAIR1001Introduction to International Relations
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