Module Identifier IPM0520  
Academic Year 2002/2003  
Co-ordinator Professor Andrew Linklater  
Semester Semester 1  
Other staff Dr Colin Wight, Ms Patricia A Owens, Dr Toni A Erskine, Dr Timothy J Dunne  
Course delivery Seminars / Tutorials   22 Hours 1 x 2 hour seminars per week  
Assessment Semester Exam   2 Hours   60%  
  Semester Assessment   Presentation: 1 x 20 minutes   20%  
  Semester Assessment   Project work: 1 x 1,500 words written up paper   20%  
  Supplementary Exam   Students may, subject to Faculty approval, have the opportunity to resit this module, normally during the supplementary examination period. For further clarification please contact the Teaching Programme Administrator in the Department of International Politics.    

Learning outcomes

- A critical awareness of the key debates surrounding the history and development of inter-state practices
- Identifying key issues concerning the historiography of International Relations Theory
- Reflecting upon key theories and concepts in contemporary international politics
- The identification of key cleavages and points of contact between International Relations Theory and Political Theory
- Demonstrate an awareness of the relationship between International Relations Theory and contemporary debates in the philosophy of social science
- Systematic analysis of methodological and epistemological implications of a wide range of theoretical positions
- The confidence to hold their own in relevant academic contexts (seminars, workshops, conferences) for specialists in International Politics.

Brief description

This module provides a comprehensive examination of theories of international relations, beginning with the emergence of the modern states system and ending with contemporary debates concerning the ontology, epistemology, and methodology of the study of International Relations (IR)


This Semester 1 core module aims to provide an advanced specialism in:

- Power and the state since 1648
- Law and norms and patterns of cooperation
- Revolutionary challenges to international order
- Great debates in IR since 1919
- The scientific study of IR
- Waltz and his critics
- The post-positivist 'turn'


The module opens with a reflection on the development of the Westphalian system. Here we will consider key concepts such as sovereignty, balance of power, capitalism, state formation, and the diplomatic and legal order. These practices evolved long before the organised study of International Relations (IR) but one of the key themes in this part of the course is to show how philosophical and theoretical arguments grounded the evolution of the international system.   It has become commonplace to date the beginnings of the field from 1919 but this been contested by 'revisionists' historiographers in recent years. Following this we will be considering traditional accounts of idealism, realism, behaviouralism and the English School, as well as critical reflections on these. Finally the module considers contemporary IR theory including Waltz's powerful scientific restatement of realism and a range of critical reactions to it; including feminism, critical theory, post-structuralism and constructivism.

Transferable skills

Throughout the teaching and the assessment of the module the students will develop a range of transferable skills. The module will require the use of IT skills and general research skills in order to identify and search for appropriate data and sources. Students will also develop: critical thinking; rational argumentation strategies; logical thinking; writing skills; reading strategies; note-taking; report writing; presentational skills; and team working.

10 ECTS Credits

Reading Lists

Chris Brown. (2002) Sovereignty, Rights and Justice. Cambridge, Polity
Andrew Linklater. (1998) The Transformation of Political Community. Cambridge, Polity
Barry Buzan and Richard Little. (2000) International Systems in World History. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Martha Nussbaum (ed by Joshua Cohen). (2002) For Love of Country?. Beacon Press