Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Sociology of International Relations: the Politics of Studying World Politics
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 20 Hours (10 x 2 hours)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 1,500 word essay-plan  20%
Semester Assessment 1 x seminar assessment (participation and presentation)  20%
Semester Assessment 1 x 3,500 word essay  60%
Supplementary Assessment 3 x 500 word seminar reading summary in lieu of seminar  20%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 1,500 word essay-plan  20%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 3,500 word essay  60%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:
1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the basic concepts of the sociological study of knowledge and science.
2. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the different factors and processes shaping the production of knowledge within, and the structure of, the discipline of International Relations.
3. Critically reflect on the relation between international structures of capital and power on the one hand, and the nature and distribution of knowledge about world politics on the other.
4. Conduct empirical research on key issues covered in the module.

Brief description

This module approaches the discipline of International Relations (IR) as an object of study, by inscribing it in the social processes of domestic and international politics. Drawing on the sociology of knowledge, science, and IR, the module provides students with the chance to methodically and systematically explore how the knowledge-power nexus translates in empirical terms within their field of study, and how international hierarchies and global structures of power affect the discipline and what it has to say about the world.


Seminar 1: Introduction to The Sociology of Knowledge and Science: Basic Concepts, Theories, and Methodologies.
Seminar 2: The Sociology of 'IR' Today: Objectives, Challenges, and Resistances
Seminar 3: What is 'IR'? Challenging the Textbook Narrative
Seminar 4: The Socio-Political Origins of 'IR' as an Institutionalized Field of Knowledge: Global and Local Contexts
Seminar 5: Disciplinary Divisions, Asymmetries, and Hierarchies: Who Produces What, Where, and How?
Seminar 6: IR Scholarship and the Centers of Power: The Politics of Neutrality Engagement, and Mimesis
Seminar 7: The Politics of IR Theory: What is at Stake in the Choice of Objects, Methods, and Explanations?
Seminar 8: Consensus, Dissent, and Dissidence: The International within IR
Seminar 9: Teaching World Politics, (Re)Producing (the) Discipline: An Assessment of Curricula and Pedagogy
Seminar 10: The Role of Disciplinary Sociology: 'Clinical' Benefits vs. 'Cynical' Uses


The module aims, first, to provide students with a systematic and empirically-grounded understanding of how the knowledge-power nexus operates historically and practically in a given academic field; second, to stimulate their critical and reflexive thinking about their own field of study and how it relates to world politics.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas both verbally and in writing and how to how to present their arguments most effectively. They will learn the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to best advantage. They will learn to be clear in their writing and speaking and to be direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic, focus and objectives of their argument or discussion. Students will also be required to submit their essays in word-processed format and the presentation of work should reflect effective expression of ideas and good use of language skills in order to ensure clarity, coherence and effective communication
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context in which support and assistance is available from both the convenor and fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and exercising their own initiative, including searching for sources and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their coursework and presentation topics. The need to prepare for assessed seminar participation and to meet coursework deadlines will focus students' attention on the need to manage their time.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the web, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources.
Personal Development and Career planning This module is designed to hone and test skills of use to students in their working lives, particularly in speaking to small groups, listening, thinking and responding to the statement of others. Moreover, the written work includes writing clearly and concisely, which is a common task in the workplace. Students will be encouraged throughout to reflect on their performance and to consider lessons for future application.
Problem solving Independent work and problem solving will be one central goal of the module; the submission of two essays will require that students develop independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; organize data and estimate an answer to the problem; consider extreme cases; reason logically; construct theoretical models; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems.
Research skills Students will be required to undertake independent research for elements of the assessed work. This will involve utilizing media and web sources, as well as more conventional academic texts. Students will in part be assessed on their ability to gather appropriate and interesting resources materials.
Subject Specific Skills Students have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of subject specific skills that help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and ideas on the module. These subject specific skills include: - Collect and understand a wide range of data relating to the module - Evaluate competing perspectives - Demonstrate subject specific research techniques Apply a range of methodologies to complex historical and contemporary political problems.
Team work Students will undertake team exercises in the seminars. For many of the topics of this module, seminars will consist of small-group discussions where students will be asked to discuss as a group the core issues related to the seminar topic. These class discussions and debates form a significant part of the module, and will allow students to approach and examine a given topic through team work.


This module is at CQFW Level 6