MSc International Relations Theory 2010-11: IR436
Professor Kimberly Hutchings
Room: D409 (4th Floor, Clement House)
tel: 020 7955 7185
Office hours: tbc
Secretary: Samantha Jordan, Room: D616, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mondays 11am-12pm, B212
Professor Chris Brown (CJB)
Dr Douglas Bulloch (DB)
Professor Barry Buzan (BB)
Professor Kim Hutchings (KH)
Dr George Lawson (GL)
Group 1: Mondays 2-4pm
Group 2: Thursdays 3-5pm
This course is a graduate-level introduction to International Relations (IR) theory. It is
structured around three core engagements: IR as a branch of philosophical knowledge; IR as
a social science; and IR as a dimension of „actual existing‟ world politics. The course surveys
both mainstream and critical approaches to the subject, examining how these theories
conceptualise „the international‟ as a field of study. The course explicitly relates IR to
cognate disciplines, reflects critically on the conceptual frameworks and modes of analysis
used by IR theories, and studies the co-constitutive relationship between the theory and
practice of international relations. Throughout the course, students will have the opportunity
to place IR theory in a much broader and deeper context than is often the case.
The course has four main aims:
To enable students to assess the contributions and shortcomings of both mainstream
and critical IR theories.
To interrogate how „the international‟ has been considered as a field of study.
To connect IR with debates, both methodological and theoretical, that have been
germane to the formation of social science as whole, giving students a broad
understanding of the context within which particular IR debates have emerged and
within which they continue to take place.
To demonstrate how theory provides a road map, toolkit or lens by which to examine
international events and processes.
By the end of the course, students will:
Evaluate the advantages and difficulties of IR theories both in comparison to each
other and vis-à-vis explanatory schemas drawn from other disciplines.
Discuss critically, and write knowledgeably about, major IR theories, relating these
both to contemporary events and to historical processes.
Possess the means to show how theory and practice intertwine in constituting
mainstream and critical IR theories.
Learn how to think and write critically about the key issues facing IR theories in the
IR 436 is the core course for both the MSc in International Relations Theory and the MSc
International Relations Research. The course consists of twenty lectures, twenty seminars
and four small group sessions (optional). One revision class will be held in Lent Term (Week
11) and one in Summer Term, details of which will be announced later in the year.
There are three main teaching methods used on the course: lectures, seminars and small
Lectures: Weekly lectures provide an overview of the topic in question. The course is
structured in three sections. We begin by „theorising the international‟, exploring the
ways in which IR theorists have conceptualised „the international‟ as a field of study.
The second (main) section of the course examines both mainstream and critical
approaches to the subject, applying these theories to core „concepts‟ and „themes‟ of
particular importance to the discipline. The final part of the course focuses on issues
of methodology, philosophy of science and philosophy of history, paying particular
attention to how these underpin – and sometimes undermine – IR theories.
Although no previous knowledge of IR theory will be assumed, it is worth
remembering that this is a graduate level course. As such, preparation – even for
lectures – is vital. We suggest that you do some reading before the lectures and, in
addition, strengthen your knowledge of IR theory by attending lectures in related
courses such as International Political Theory (IR200), International Politics (IR410)
and Introduction to International Political Theory (IR462). It may also be worth
auditing relevant lectures offered elsewhere in the school.
Seminars: There are twenty seminars starting in the first week of Michaelmas Term.
The main reading list outlines texts that are required reading each week. These are
intended to provide a basis for class discussion, to introduce key concepts and issues,
and to act as a starting point for more advanced, independent enquiry into particular
topics. These texts should be digested ahead of the seminars.
Attendance at seminars is compulsory. If you do need to miss a seminar, please notify
the seminar leader ahead of time. If you absolutely must miss a seminar in which you
are scheduled to make a presentation, you will be assigned another slot. While you are
not expected to have prior knowledge of the material we will be discussing, it is
important that you are keen, active and involved participants in the course as a whole.
This means reading every week, thinking about the topics involved, working hard on
the presentations, and generally playing your part in making the seminar an enjoyable
and stimulating environment.
Most of the time, seminars will consist of three core elements:
o There will be a brief presentation (10-15 minutes) by one or two members of
the group. Presentations should be based on one or more of the key questions
listed under the weekly topics. Please note that presentation handouts should
be uploaded via Moodle twenty-four hours before the seminar takes place.
o A discussant will comment briefly (no more than 5 minutes) on the topic at
hand, raising issues not addressed by the presenter, offering an alternative
view or perhaps discussing an additional question included in this course
guide. Presenters and discussants should get together prior to the seminar to
ensure that their work is complementary.
o The class will have a discussion based on the material presented. This will
vary in form from week to week, ranging from a general conversation to
smaller group work and, on occasion, written assignments.
Small groups: Twice during Michaelmas Term and twice during Lent Term (as
indicated on p. 8 below), students will be offered the chance to meet in small groups
of 3-4 with their seminar leader. These „tutorial‟ sessions are intended as forums for
probing deeper into issues raised by the course, highlighting problems, and looking
more closely at topics which students are engaging with in their written work. These
sessions will be timetabled in consultation with seminar leaders.
Begin presentations by setting out the key question you are addressing and explaining why it
is important. Outline your perspective clearly and identify issues for discussion. Do not
merely read out a pre-prepared script, but, using a clear structure, talk through your argument.
This makes the presentation more enjoyable to listen to, develops valuable presentation skills
and ensures that you really know your material; in turn, this means less revision come exam
time. Presenters should also prepare a handout (e.g. outlining the main points covered by the
talk) for classmates to download. The Postgraduate Taught Course Student Handbook
provides further information about presentations.
Formative assessment – the course has four forms of formative assessment:
Diagnostic test: all students will take a diagnostic test on Wednesday 6th October in
order to gauge your familiarity with core concepts and themes used on the course. The
test will be assessed by supervisors with feedback provided verbally to students.
Please note that no preparation is required for this test and it does not constitute a part
of the final grade.
Essays: students will write three essays (2,000-2,500 words) during the course of the
year. The first, due in week 7 of Michaelmas Term (Wednesday 17th November),
should engage with the texts used to set up the course and its central concern – the
distinctiveness of IR as a field of study/practice. The second, due in week 2 of Lent
Term (Wednesday 19th January), should be an assessment of mainstream theories and
concepts, examining both their internal coherence and their capacity to explain
important processes in world politics. The final essay, due in week 7 of Lent Term
(Wednesday 23rd February), should interrogate critical approaches to the subject.
Outline: in week 10 of Lent Term (Wednesday 16th March), students will hand in an
outline of their long essay to their seminar tutors. These outlines should be 3-4 pages
long, explaining what your question is, how you will be approaching the topic, and
what literature you will be consulting.
Verbal: all students will conduct at least one presentation and take one turn as
discussant during the second section of the course i.e. weeks 4-16. Feedback will be
provided on presentations by seminar tutors. In addition, all students are expected to
contribute consistently to seminar discussions.
Summative assessment – the course has two forms of summative assessment:
Long essay: 50% of the final grade is drawn from a long essay (4,000 words) due in
week 2 of Summer Term (Wednesday 11th May). Essays should, of course, engage
with a theoretical question, issue or puzzle, although this will be interpreted liberally
in order to maximise independence of thought and creativity of research. Seminar
leaders and individual supervisors will provide guidance on the long essay during the
course of the year.
Exam: during Summer Term (probably in early-mid June), students will sit a two hour
unseen exam which will constitute 50% of their final grade. Last year‟s exam is
provided at the back of this reading list. Revision sessions dealing directly with the
exam will be held in Week 11 of Lent Term and early in Summer Term – details to be
announced nearer the time. Again, supervisors and seminar leaders will provide
guidance on the exam during the course of the year.
Essay topics should be drawn from the sample exam paper, the questions listed under each
topic below or in prior discussion with seminar leaders. Essays should be typed, double
spaced and printed on A4 paper. They should provide a sustained argument answering a
specific question, backing up claims and refuting counter positions with examples and
evidence. Essays should also include footnotes (where appropriate) and a bibliography. As a
basic guide, we suggest reading and absorbing between 6–10 texts (articles, chapters and
books) for each essay. The Postgraduate Taught Course Student Handbook provides further
information about essay writing.
Please hand essays in to the „essay box‟ on the second floor of Columbia House. N.B. essays
will not be accepted late or via e-mail unless this has been pre-arranged in advance.
Deadlines for the assignments are:
Essay 1 (‘theorising the international’): Wednesday 17th November
Essay 2 (mainstream theories): Wednesday 19th January
Essay 3 (critical theories): Wednesday 23rd February
Long essay outline: Wednesday 16th March
Long essay: Wednesday 11th May
Plagiarism consists of any form of passing off, or attempting to pass off, the knowledge or
work of others as your own. It is a form of cheating. Examples of plagiarism include:
unattributed quotations from a book, magazine or article; copying from the notes or essays of
others; the submission of work actually written or dictated by others; and unattributed use of
other peoples‟ ideas. Remember, plagiarism includes information from books, newspapers,
journals and the Internet. All plagiarized work will at the very least receive a mark of zero,
and all work will be checked against specialist plagiarism software. You should be aware that
school rules on plagiarism are strict and can result in expulsion.
Moodle is the web-based location for IR436 course materials. It also provides an additional
form of teacher-to-student and student-to-student communication. The Moodle site can be
accessed via the „Welcome to LSE Moodle‟ quick link on the „current students‟ page of the
LSE website. Students need to self-register onto the course via the link on the Moodle
homepage in order to gain access to the site. Further guidance will be given in the
introductory lecture and seminars. Help in using the system is available online, and the
Teaching and Learning Centre runs tutorials which students are encouraged to make use of.
The IR436 Moodle site contains an electronic version of the main reading list, lecture notes,
web links and feeds, space for class presentations, and news of upcoming events of interest.
We have tried to ensure that core readings are electronically available, although this should
not be assumed and does not serve as a substitute for visiting the library! There is also an
IR436 e-pack consisting of scanned readings that are not otherwise available online.
Notices about seminars and lectures will tend to be posted on Moodle rather than emailed, so
you will need to check the site regularly. Seminar discussion areas are intended to be used by
students as a more informal space in which to consider the issues covered by the course. They
will not be moderated by seminar tutors. As such, you should ensure that posts are
appropriate. Other resources may become available as the Moodle area is developed through
the academic year and your feedback on the site is welcomed. Please direct questions or
feedback to Samantha Jordan (S.Jordan@lse.ac.uk).
Although there is no single textbook assigned for this course, it will be worth purchasing one
or more of the books below, all of which will be useful as background material for
presentations, class discussions and essays.
John Baylis, Steve Smith and Patricia Owens (eds.), The Globalization of World
Politics (4th Edition, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2007) – particularly good on
the historical context which lies behind IR theory, as well as issues not always
covered well elsewhere, e.g. nationalism, global poverty and international law.
Chris Brown and Kirsten Ainley, Understanding International Relations, 4th ed.
(London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010) – organised usefully around issues/topics rather
than „ism‟s‟; particularly strong on normative debates.
Scott Burchill et al, Theories of International Relations 4th ed. (London: Palgrave,
2008) – solid „ism‟-based textbook pitched at quite a high level. Includes chapters on
subjects such as green politics as well as the usual suspects.
Fred Chernoff, The Power of International Theory (London: Routledge, 2005) – one
of the best attempts yet to cover IR as a science akin to a natural science.
Tim Dunne, Milja Kurki and Steve Smith (eds.), International Relations Theories:
Discipline and Diversity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007) – up-to-date, wide-
ranging and well-written; the accompanying online site is also useful.
Patrick Jackson, The Conduct of Inquiry in International Relations (London:
Routledge, 2010) – especially useful for the third section of the course on philosophy
Steve Smith, Ken Booth and Marysia Zalewski, International Relations Theory:
Positivism and Beyond (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996) – slightly
dated in places, but still contains some important essays.
Jennifer Sterling-Folker, Making Sense of IR Theory (Boulder: Lynne Reiner, 2005) –
a quirky book which applies IR theories to a single case of „actual existing world
politics‟: the wars in the former Yugoslavia.
Cynthia Weber, International Relations Theory: A Critical Introduction (London:
Routledge, 2001) – an explicitly „critical‟ text studying IR theories via films, books
and other such cultural practices.
Two useful – but expensive – reference texts would also be worth tracking down (N.B.
sometimes second-hand copies can be found for less-than-exorbitant prices at Amazon or via
sites such as Abebooks (http://www.abebooks.co.uk/):
Martin Griffiths (ed.), Encyclopaedia of International Relations and Global Politics
(London: Routledge, 2005) – comprehensive contributions on a wide range of
Walter Carlsnaes, Thomas Risse and Beth Simmons (eds.), Handbook of International
Relations (London: Sage, 2002) – wide-ranging in scope and containing some
important, if quite complex, contributions from leading thinkers in the field.
It might also be worth buying a copy of the Penguin Dictionary of International Relations,
edited by Graham Evans and Jeffrey Newnham (£10). It contains background information on
the key concepts and terms we will be using on the course.
It is also essential that you keep up to date with debates in the field through the major
journals, all of which are available electronically. International Organization and
International Security are the premier US journals – the former is more geared to liberal
institutionalism; the latter to neo-realism. Please note that these journals are gateways to
mainstream approaches in IR – they are interesting as much for what they omit as for what
they cover. International Studies Quarterly is the house journal of the International Studies
Association. It provides an alternative showcase for mainstream approaches while self-
consciously seeking to „build bridges‟ between various paradigms.
The main European journals are The European Journal of International Relations which is
mostly (if not exclusively) associated with constructivism and post-positivism; the Review of
International Studies, a good general journal published by the British International Studies
Association (based at LSE from January 2011); and Millennium, a self-styled avant-garde
journal edited by research students at LSE. (N.B. the Millennium Editorial Board is open to
all MSc students in the department – as such it is a valuable way to get to know the best (and
worst) of cutting-edge IR theory). Also worth perusing for non-mainstream articles are
International Political Sociology and Alternatives. International Theory, edited by Alex
Wendt and Duncan Snidal, is a newish, top-end journal devoted to the ways in which IR fits
with – and rubs up against – cognate disciplines.
Websites and reading beyond the syllabus
There are an increasing number of blogs devoted to international affairs, some of which repay
regular visits. The principal IR blog is probably „Foreign Policy‟ (www.foreignpolicy.com),
containing news and views from a number of interesting scholars: Stephen Walt, one of the
world‟s pre-eminent realists; Dan Drezner, a realist and IPE specialist; and Mark Lynch, an
expert on the Middle East. The „World Affairs Journal‟ is also an excellent source of up-to-
date commentary: http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/. „The Duck of Minerva‟ is a collective
venture established by a younger crowd of IR scholars: http://duckofminerva.blogspot.com/).
„Crooked Timber‟ (http://crookedtimber.org/) is one of the best all purpose academic blogs.
Other useful websites include: www.opendemocracy.net, an online forum of global news and
culture; http://www.lib.umich.edu/govdocs/psintl.html, a gateway to web based IR resources;
while http://globetrotter.berkeley.edu/conversations/ is the front-page for the University of
California, Berkeley‟s „conversations with history‟ TV programme. The site contains
interviews with some of the leading lights of IR theory including Kenneth Waltz, John
Mearsheimer, Stephen Krasner and Robert Keohane. http://www.theory-talks.org/ has a
growing number of interesting interviews. Otherwise you may unearth some useful nuggets at
Academic Earth: http://academicearth.org/
http://fpc.org.uk/ is the home of the Foreign Policy Centre, one of the UK‟s main IR think-
tanks. The FPC is rivalled in influence by the European Council of Foreign Affairs
(http://www.ecfr.eu/), Chatham House (http://www.chathamhouse.org.uk/), the IISS
(http://www.iiss.org/) and RUSI (http://www.rusi.org/). http://www.brookings.edu/ is the
online home of the Brookings Institution, perhaps the biggest IR-related think-tank in the
United States. www.oneworldorg.com is an online portal to over 750 associations that
campaign for reform of the global economy; http://www.worldaudit.org/ is a global audit of
„freedom‟; Human Rights Watch (http://www.hrw.org/) monitors human rights abuses around
the world. Wikileaks (http://wikileaks.org/) is an increasingly influential repository for
unclassified documents. The more disturbed amongst you may be interested in the „suicide
attack database‟ hosted by the University of Chicago (http://cpost.uchicago.edu/search.php).
Not for the faint hearted.
Obviously, this is just the tip of a substantial iceberg. If you have further suggestions for sites
to be included in this list, please get in touch with Samantha Jordan.
List of Lectures
Part 1 Theorising the international
4 October International Relations vs. international relations (KH)
11 October Angell and Mackinder on „the international‟ in the early C20th (KH)
18 October Waltz and Wendt on „the international‟ in the late C20th (KH)
Small group session 1: ‘Theorising the international’
Part 2 Theories of International Relations
25 October Realism and neorealism (CJB)
1 November Tragedy (CJB)
8 November Liberalism and neoliberalism (CJB)
15 November Liberalism 3.0 (CJB)
22 November Constructivism (CJB)
29 November The English School (BB)
6 December Sovereignty (KH)
Small group session 2: Mainstream approaches
10 January Marxism and critical theory (KH)
17 January Progress (KH)
24 January Post-structuralism (KH)
31 January Power (KH)
7 February Feminism (KH)
14 February Security (KH)
Small group session 3: Critical approaches
Part 3: Theorising theory
21 February Philosophy of Science I: Knowledge and truth (DB)
28 March Philosophy of Science II: Explanation and understanding (DB)
7 March Philosophy of History I: Context (GL)
14 March Philosophy of History II: Narrative (GL)
Small group session 4: ‘Theorising theory’
Topics: Overview, reading and key questions
It is not intended that students read all the references listed under each topic below. Essential
readings are exactly that … essential. Other important works are marked with an asterisk (*)
and are usually held in the Course Collection and/or available electronically.
Part 1: Theorising the International
The first section of the course introduces students to IR in a novel way, looking at how a
number of scholars from different times and starting points, and employing quite different
techniques, imagine the nature of the international. The sessions are text based, looking
closely at where these thinkers locate the subject matter of International Relations and how
they give it meaning. This works to make clear from the outset the central concern of the
course: is there something distinctive about IR, and if so, what is it?
Week 1 Introduction: International Relations and international relations
Before the discipline of International Relations, there was the study of international relations
i.e. the influence of „external‟ sources of power, ideas, norms and practices on peoples and
societies around the world. As well as introducing the course as a whole, this lecture provides
an overview of the „deep roots‟ of international relations. Its key point is that „international
relations‟ has a longer, deeper and broader history than that of modern Europe and the West.
Taking this longer lens provides us with a surer basis for thinking about the present
international system and about the institutionalisation of IR as a discipline in Britain and the
United States during the early part of the twentieth century.
Brian C. Schmidt (2002) „Anarchy, World Politics and the Birth of a Discipline‟,
International Relations 16(1): 9-31.
Ole Wæver (1998) „The Sociology of a Not So International Discipline‟, International
Organization 52(4): 687–727.
Barry Buzan and Richard Little (2002) „Why International Relations Has Failed as an
Intellectual Project and What to Do About It‟, Millennium 30(1): 19-39.
* Buzan, B & R. Little (2000) International Systems in World History, especially parts II and III.
Hoffman, S. (1977) „An American Social Science: International Relations‟ in Janus and
Minerva: 3–24. Also see: Steve Smith, „International Relations: Still an American Social
Science?‟ British Journal of Politics and International Relations 2(3), 2000: 374-402.
Jorgensen, K.E. et al eds. (2006) International Relations in Europe (London: Routledge).
Schmidt, B. (2002) 'On the History and Historiography of International Relations' in Walter
Carlsnaes, Thomas Risse and Beth A Simmons (eds.) Handbook of IR, pp. 1–22.
* Smith, S. „The Self-Images of a Discipline‟, in Booth and Smith, IR Theory Today: 1-37.
Tickner, A. & O. Waever (2008) IR Scholarship Around the World (London: Routledge).
* Vitalis, R. (2005) „Birth of a Discipline‟ in David Long and Brian Schmidt, Imperialism
and Internationalism in the Discipline of International Relations, pp. 159-182.
What is International Relations? Is it different from international relations?
Can we speak of international relations before 1648 or 1919?
„The major weakness of mainstream IR theory is that it is heavily and unconsciously
shaped by the narrow historical experience of modern Europe.‟ Do you agree?
Week 2 Angell and Mackinder on ‘the international’ in the early C20th
This lecture explores two contrasting approaches to theorising international politics in the
early C20th. Both Angell and Mackinder were writing before WWI and before International
Relations became institutionalised as an academic discipline. Nevertheless, both of them are
trying to outline what they see as the distinctive features of the international, both in order to
establish a basis on which international politics can be explained, and in order to influence
the thinking of policy makers and diplomats. Whereas Angell sees the international as
acquiring a radically new form in the early C20th, Mackinder argues that there are material
forces that shape the dynamics of international politics. Whereas Angell argues that scholars
of international relations can learn from sociology and political economy, Mackinder argues
that they can learn from geography and history.
Angell, Norman (1914) “The Influence of Credit Upon International Relations” (originally
written in 1912), Chapter III of The Foundations of International Polity (London:
Mackinder, H. J. (1904) “The Geographical Pivot of History”, The Geographical Journal 23
See the readings by Schmidt and the book edited by Long and Schmidt from Week 1. If you
are interested in the history of thinking about the international in the C19th and the first part
of the C20th, then see also:
Ashworth, Lucian Creating International Studies: Angell, Mitrany, and the Liberal Tradition
Bell, Duncan (ed) (2007) Victorian Visions of Global Order: empire and international
relations in nineteenth century political thought (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).
Schmidt, B (1998) The Political Discourse of Anarchy: a disciplinary history of international
relations (Albany: SUNY).
In what sense are Angell and Mackinder offering us a theory of the international?
Critically contrast the visions of the international offered by Angell and Mackinder.
How relevant are Angell‟s and Mackinder‟s arguments to our early C21st concerns?
Week 3 Waltz and Wendt on ‘the international’ in the late C20th
This lecture examines two contrasting attempts to specify what „international politics‟ means,
from the perspective of International Relations as an established social science in the later
part of the C20th. Waltz‟s book, published in 1979, has been hailed as the „classic‟ statement
of neo-realist orthodoxy. Wendt‟s book, published in 1999, is in many ways an attempt to
replace Waltz‟s orthodoxy with a new constructivist paradigm. In both cases there is a strong
commitment to the specificity of the „international‟ as opposed to the „domestic‟, but Waltz
and Wendt have very different views about how the „international‟ should be conceived and
Kenneth Waltz, Theory of International Politics, (Reading MA, Addison-Wesley, 1979) esp.
Chapters 4-6 (also re-printed in R. Keohane ed. Neorealism and its Critics).
Alexander Wendt, Social Theory of International Politics, (Cambridge, Cambridge
University Press, 1999) esp. Chapters 1, 5 and 6. A useful early statement of his
theory can be found in, „Anarchy is what States Make of It‟, International
Organization 46(2) 1992: 391-426.
Refer forward to references under Week 4 („Realism and Neo-Realism‟) for other works by
Waltz and secondary source material; the Keohane collection, Neorealism and Its Critics, is a
particularly useful set of responses to Waltz‟s work. Refer forward to references under Week 8
(„Constructivism‟) for other works by Wendt and secondary source material. The Guzzini and
Leander collection, Constructivism and International Relations: Alexander Wendt and his
Critics (Routledge: 2006) brings together an important range of responses to his work.
What, if anything, do the analyses of Waltz and Wendt have in common?
Compare and contrast Waltz and Wendt on the meaning of international anarchy.
What distinguishes the ways that Waltz and Wendt theorise the international from
those of Angell and Mackinder?
Part 2 Theories of International Relations
The second part of the course uses thirteen sessions in order to explore the principal theories
of International Relations. Most of the time, theories are covered in two sessions. In the first
week, lectures provide a general introduction to a particular theory. In the second week,
lectures tackle an issue/theme/concept of core concern to the theory. At all times, we will be
asking two linked questions: 1. How well – or not – do these concepts/issues map onto
existing IR theories?; 2. How close are the links between the concepts and issues we use to
understand/explain/describe the world, and actual events and processes in world politics?
Week 4: Realism and Neorealism
The roots of realism can be found in texts by Thucydides, Augustine, Machiavelli, Hobbes,
Rousseau and many others, but as a full-fledged theory of international relations it is a
twentieth century product. In the 1930s and 1940s it took the form of a critique of
idealism/utopianism, and came to be the dominant approach to IR; the American „classical
realists‟, Niebuhr, Kennan and especially Morgenthau are central to this dominance. In the
1970s Kenneth Waltz becomes the (reluctant?) progenitor of neo- or structural realism. More
recently, perhaps in reaction, there has been a revival of interest in Morgenthau, and the
development of „neo-classical realism‟.
Extracts From Thucydides, „Peloponnesian War‟, Machiavelli „The Prince‟ and Hobbes,
„Leviathan‟ in Chris Brown, Terry Nardin, and N.J. Rengger eds. International Relations in
Political Thought: Texts from the Ancient Greeks to the First World War (2002)
Michael Williams ed. Realism Reconsidered: the Legacy of Hans Morgenthau in
International Relations (2007)
Michael Williams „Why ideas matter in International Relations: Hans Morgenthau, Classical
Realism, and the Moral Construction of Power Politics‟ International Organisation
58 (4) (2004) 633 - 665
John Mearsheimer, „Structural Realism‟ and Richard Ned Lebow „Classical Realism‟ in Tim
Dunne, et al eds., International Relations Theories: Discipline and Diversity (2006)
International Relations Special Issue: „The King of Thought: Theory, The Subject and Waltz‟
Part I Vol. 23 No 2, June 2009. Part II, Vol. 23 No. 3 September 2009.
Background Reading: (* indicates a particularly helpful text)
On ‘Classical Realism’:
E.H. Carr, The Twenty Years Crisis ed. Michael Cox. (2001)
Hans J. Morgenthau, Scientific Man and Power Politics (1947)
& Politics Among Nations (any edition up to 5th)
George Kennan American Diplomacy (1952)
Reinhold Niebuhr Moral Man and Immoral Society (1932)
Christoph Frei Hans J. Morgenthau: An intellectual Biography (2001)
Jonathan Haslam, No Virtue like Necessity: Realist Thought in International Relations since
Charles Jones E.H .Carr and International Relations: A Duty to Lie (1998)
Michael J Smith, Realist Thought from Weber to Kissinger (1986)
Joel Rosenthal Righteous Realists (1991)
Michael Williams The Realist Tradition and the Limits of International Relations* (2005)
Kenneth Waltz, Theory of International Politics (1979) Esp. Chapters 5 & 6
- „An Interview with Kenneth Waltz‟ (conducted by Fred Halliday and Justin
Rosenberg) Review of International Studies (24) (1998) pp. 371-86 *
- 'Realist Thought and Neorealist Theory', Journal of International Affairs, (44)
- „The Emerging Structure of International Politics‟, International Security (18)
- „Structural Realism after the Cold War‟, International Security (25) (1) (2000)
Online resource: Conversation with Kenneth Waltz
On Neoclassical Realism:
S E Lobel, N.M. Ripsman & J.W. Taliaferro eds. Neoclassical Realism, The State and
Foreign Policy (2009)
R.L. Schweller Unanswered Threats: Political Constraints on the Balance of Power (2006)
American Political Science Review Forum on Neo-Realism (91) (1997) 899-936
Richard Ashley, 'The Poverty of Neorealism', International Organisation, (38) (1984) 225-
David A. Baldwin, (ed.) Neorealism and Neoliberalism: The Contemporary Debate (1993)
Stephen G. Brooks & William C. Wohlforth World Out of Balance: International Relations
and the Challenge of American Primacy (2008)
Michael Brown, et al (eds) The Perils of Anarchy: Contemporary Realism and International
Security: An International Security Reader (1995)
- (eds) Offence, Defence and War: An International Security Reader (2004)
Barry Buzan, , Charles Jones and Richard Little (1993) The Logic of Anarchy: Neorealism to
Colin Elman & Miriam Elman, eds. Progress in International Relations Theory (2003)
Goddard, S.E. & Nexon, D.H. „Paradigm Lost: Reassessing Theory of International Politics‟
European Journal of international Relations 11/1, pp 6 - 61(2005)
Robert O. Keohane, (ed.) Neorealism and its Critics [contains edited versions of Waltz
„Theory‟, and Ashley „Poverty‟ + texts by Cox and Ruggie] (1986)
Stephen Krasner, Sovereignty: Organised Hypocrisy (1999)
Robert Gilpin (1981) War and Change in World Politics
Peter Gowan, „A Calculus of Power‟ New Left Review 16 (July/August 2002) (extended
review of Mearsheimer, 2001)
Robert Jervis „Realism, Neoliberalism and Co-operation: Understanding the Debate‟ in
Elman and Elman op cit 277 -310.
Jeffrey W. Legro and Andrew Moravcsik, „Is Anybody Still a Realist?‟, International
Security, 24 (1999) 5 - 55
John J. Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (2001)
- „E.H. Carr vs Idealism: the Battle Rages On‟ International Relations 19 (2) 2005, and
response Roundtable 19 (3) 2005
- "Conversations in International Relations - Interview with John J. Mearsheimer (Parts
I & II)," International Relations, Vol. 20, No. 1& 2 (2006),
Rendall, M. „Defensive Realism and the Concert of Europe‟ Review of International Studies
32/3 (2006) 523 -54.
G. Rose „Neoclassical realism and theories of foreign policy‟ World Politics 51, 144-72, 1998
Paul Schroeder, 'Historical Reality vs. Neo-Realist Theory', International Security, (19)
(1994) 108-48 (and collected in M. E. Brown, et al eds. 1995). *
Randolph Schweller „The Progressiveness of Neoclassical Realism‟ in Elman and Elman op
cit 311 – 348.
- „Unanswered Threats: A Neoclassical Realist Theory of Underbalancing‟
International Security; 29, (2) (2004).
- Unanswered Threats: Political Constraints on the Balance of Power (2006)
Glenn H. Snyder, „Mearsheimer‟s World-Offensive Realism and the
Struggle for Security‟, International Security, 27 (2002), 149–50.
Jeffrey W. Taliaferro, „Seeking Security under Anarchy‟, International Security, 25
John Vasquez The Power of Power Politics: From Classical Realism to Neotraditionalism
Waever, O. (1996) 'The Rise and Fall of the Inter-paradigm Debate', in Smith, Booth and
Zalewski, (1996) International Theory.
Walt, S. (2002) „The Enduring Relevance of the Realist Tradition‟ in Ira Katzenstein & H.
Milner (eds) Political Science: State of the Discipline
Wohlforth, W. (1994/95) 'Realism and the End of the Cold War', International Security, (19)
Wohlforth, W. et al (2007) „Testing Balance of Power Theory in World History‟ European
Journal of International Relations 13/2, pp. 155-185*
- eds The Balance of Power in World History (2007)
Zakaria, F. (1992) 'Realism and Domestic Politics: A Review Essay', International Security,
„Forget the so-called roots of realism; realism is a twentieth century doctrine with no
relevant antecedents‟. Discuss.
Are there important differences between the versions of realism offered by
Morgenthau, Carr and Waltz?
„Neoclassical realism is neither neo, nor classical, nor realist‟. Discuss.
Week 5: Tragedy
Is the notion of „tragedy‟ an appropriate way of characterizing the dilemmas thrown up by the
theory and practice of international relations? Two recent major realist works (see below
Mearsheimer, 2001; Lebow, 2003) include the word in their titles, but, arguably, the
meanings they attribute to the term are somewhat different, and perhaps reflect the difference
between classical and structural realism. A recent series of articles in the journal
International Relations lays out the issues involved (these essays will be published as a book,
with additional material, in 2010).
Mervyn Frost, „Tragedy, Ethics and International Relations‟, 17(4), 2003, pp. 477–95;
James Mayall, „Tragedy, Progress and the International Order: A Response to Frost‟,
17(4), 2003, pp. 497–503;
Nicholas Rengger, „Tragedy or Scepticism? Defending the Anti-Pelagian Mind in World
Politics‟, 19(3), 2005, pp. 321–8.
Richard Ned Lebow „Tragedy, Politics and Political Science‟ 19 (3) :2005 329-336.
Chris Brown „Tragedy, „Tragic Choices‟ and Contemporary International Political Theory‟
21 (1) 2007 5-13.
J. Peter Euben „The Tragedy of Tragedy‟ 21 (1) 2007, 15 – 22
John Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics 2001
Brian C. Schmidt, „Realism as Tragedy‟, Review of International Studies, 30 (2004), 427–41.
[review of Mearsheimer]
Richard Ned Lebow, The Tragic Vision of Politics: Ethics, Interests and Orders, 2003 -
A Cultural Theory of International Relations 2008
Greeks, Shakespeareans and moderns on tragedy
Martha Nussbaum, The Fragility of Goodness: Luck and Ethics in Greek Tragedy and
Bernard Williams, Shame and Necessity (1993)
Peter Euben, The Tragedy of Political Theory: The Road Not Taken (1990).*
- ed. Greek Tragedy and Political Theory (1986)
- The Battle of Salamis and the Origins of Political Theory, Political Theory 14
(3) (1986), 359-390.
A. C. Bradley, Shakespearean Tragedy, ed. John Bayley (1904/ 2005).
Aeschylus The Oresteia
[Robert Fagles‟ translations in Penguin Classics recommended]
For an alternative to the emphasis on Classical Greece and Tragedy, see this extended reading
of the rise of Rome as an example of structural realism in action:
Arthur M. Eckstein Mediterranean Anarchy, Interstate War and the Rise of Rome (2006)
- Rome Enters the Greek East: From Anarchy to Hierarchy in the Hellenistic
Mediterranean, 230 – 170 BC (2008)
Guido Calabresi & Philip Bobbitt, Tragic Choices (1978).
Michael Walzer, „Political Action: The Problem of Dirty Hands‟, Philosophy and Public
Affairs, 2, (1973), pp. 160–80.*
Thomas Smith, „The Uses of Tragedy: Reinhold Niebuhr's Theory of History and
International Ethics‟ Ethics & International Affairs, Volume 9 (1995)
Do you agree with Oakeshott and Rengger that „tragedy‟ is an aesthetic rather than a
Compare and contrast the use of „tragedy‟ in the work of Mearsheimer and Lebow.
Week 6: Liberalism and liberal institutionalism
Classical liberal internationalism rests on a variety of sources, Kant, Cobden and Mill being
particularly important; contra most branches of realism, international behaviour is linked to
regime-type, and republics/liberal democracies are generally taken to be less warlike than
monarchies/authoritarian regimes – although modern „democratic peace‟ theory suggests that
liberal regimes are only peaceful in their dealings with each other. In the 20th century
liberalism has been associated with the promotion of international institutions; the modern
version of liberalism (liberal institutionalism or neoliberalism) is related to neorealism, but
based on a more optimistic reading of the anarchy problematic.
Kant „Perpetual Peace‟, Cobden „Political Writings‟ and Mill „A Few Words on Non-
Intervention‟ in Chris Brown, Terry Nardin and N.J. Rengger eds International
Relations in Political Thought: Texts from the Ancient Greeks to the First World War.
Michael J. Smith, (1992) „Liberalism‟ in Terry Nardin & David Mapel eds. Traditions of
International Ethics Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Michael Doyle, „Liberalism and World Politics‟, American Political Science Review (80)
Robert Axelrod, and Robert O Keohane 'Achieving Cooperation under Anarchy: Strategies
and Institutions', World Politics, (38) (1985) 226-54.
Beate Jahn „Liberal Internationalism; from ideology to empirical theory – and back again‟.
International Theory 1 (3) 409 – 438. See also debate between Andrew Moravcsik and Jahn
in International Theory 2 (1)
Background Reading: On classical liberalism:
David Long, and Peter Wilson (eds) Thinkers of the Twenty Years Crisis: Interwar Idealism
Christopher Hill, „1939: the Origins of Liberal Realism‟ Review of International Studies 15.
(1989) pp 319-28.
Chris Brown, „Fog in the Channel: Continental International Relations Theory Isolated‟ in R
Crawford and D Jarvis eds. International Relations: Still an American Discipline?
Toward Diversity of International Thought. (2001) [MS available via MOODLE]
Michael Doyle „Kant, Liberal Legacies and Foreign Policy‟, Parts I and II, Philosophy and
Public Affairs (12) (1983) 205-35 and 323-53.*
Beate Jahn, „Kant, Mill and Illiberal legacies in International Affairs‟ International
Organisation (2005) 177-207.*
On liberalism and liberal institutionalism:
Robert Axelrod, The Evolution of Co-operation (1984)
Joseph Grieco, 'Anarchy and the Limits of Cooperation: A Realist Critique of the Newest
Liberal Institutionalism', International Organisation, (42) (1988) 485-508.
Andreas Hasenclever, , et al Theories of International Regimes (1997)
- „Integrating Theories of International Regimes‟, Review of International
Studies (26) (2000) 3-33.
Robert O. Keohane After Hegemony (1984)
- International Institutions and State Power (1989)
- Power and Governance in a Partially Globalised World (2002)
John J. Mearsheimer „The False Promise of International Institutions‟ International Security
19, (1994/5) 5 – 49.
Andrew Moravcsik, „Taking Preferences Seriously: A Liberal Theory of International
Politics‟ International Organisation 51 (4) 1997, 513-553.*
Nye, J. S. (1988) 'Neorealism and Neoliberalism', World Politics, (40) 235-51.
Powell, R. (1991) 'Absolute and Relative Gains in International Relations Theory', American
Political Science Review, (85) 1303-20.
Powell, R. (1994) 'Anarchy in International Relations: The Neoliberal-Neorealist Debate',
International Organisation, (48) 313-34.
On the ‘democratic peace’ thesis after Doyle:
Tarak Barkawi, & Mark Laffey „The Imperial Peace: Democracy, Force and Globalization‟
European Journal of International Relations (5) (1999) 403-34.*
- (eds) Democracy, Liberalism and War: Rethinking the Democratic Peace
Michael Brown et al eds. Debating the Democratic Peace: An international Security Reader
Raymond Cohen, „Pacific Unions: A Reappraisal of the Theory that “Democracies Do Not
Go To War With Each Other”‟, Review of International Studies (20) (1994) 207-23.
[and see Russett et al ‘Raymond Cohen on Pacific Unions: A Response and a Reply’,
Review of International Studies (21) (1995) 319-25.]*
European Journal of International Relations Special Issue on „Democratic and Peace‟ 1 (4)
Joanna Gowa, Ballots and Bullets: The Elusive Democratic Peace (1999)
Christopher Layne, „Kant or Cant: the Myth of the Democratic Peace‟, International Security
19 (2) (1994), 5-49.*
Michael Mann The Dark Side of Democracy: Explaining Ethnic Cleansing (2004)
- „The darkside of democracy: the modern tradition of ethnic and political
cleansing‟, New Left Review, 235, May-June (1999) 18 – 45
Edward Mansfield & Jack Snyder Electing to Fight: Why Emerging Democracies go to War
Bruce Bueno de Mesquita War and Reason (1992)
Thomas Risse „Liberalism‟ in Dunne, Kurki and Smith International Relations Theories
Bruce Russett Grasping the Democratic Peace (1993)
When and why do states cooperate?
Does the rapid spread of international organisations prove the liberals to be right?
Critically assess the argument that democratic states will not go to war with each
other. Illustrate your argument with examples.
Week 7: ‘Liberalism 3.0’
The events of the last two decades, and especially of the two terms of George W. Bush‟s
Presidency, have raised serious issues for the liberal conception of international relations.
The charge often made is that the „neo-conservative‟ vision of the world is, in effect, a
modern version of Wilsonian liberal internationalism („hard Wilsonianism‟ to use a phrase of
Max Boot‟s.) The Princeton Project on National Security (PPNS), run by Anne-Marie
Slaughter (now appointed by President Obama to be Director of Policy Planning in the US
Department of State) and G. John Ikenberry (now acting Director of the Woodrow Wilson
School at Princeton in her absence), set out to refute this perspective, and Ikenberry has
continued this work, developing the notion of Liberalism 3.0.
G John Ikenberry & Anne-Marie Slaughter Forging A World of Liberty under Law: US
National Security in the 21st Century Final Report of the PPNS 2006
G. John Ikenberry Liberal Leviathan Princeton UP, Forthcoming 2010
- „Liberal Internationalism 3.0: America and the Dilemmas of Liberal World
Order‟ Perspectives on Politics 7(1) March 2009
- „The Myth of Autocratic Revival‟ (with Daniel Deudeney) Foreign Affairs
- „American Power and the Empire of Capitalist Democracy‟ Review of
International Studies Vol. 27 2001/02, pp 191 -212.
For various unpublished papers and recent publications see his website:
G. John Ikenberry Liberal Order and Imperial Ambition: Essays on American Power and
World Politics Polity Press, (2006) collects his essays from before 1994
Ikenberry, Thomas J. Knock, Tony Smith & Anne-Marie Slaughter The Crisis of American
Foreign Policy: Wilsonianism in the Twenty-First Century Princeton UP (2009)
addresses and debates the link between Wilsonianism and neo-conservatism
John Ikenberry, After Victory (2001) & Anne-Marie Slaughter, A New World Order (2004)
are earlier statements by the main progenitors of Liberalism 3.0
Ikenberry has worked closely with Daniel Deudney in the past – see their Deudney &
Ikenberry „The Nature and Sources of Liberal International Order‟, Review of International
Studies 25: (1999) 179–96.
But Deudney‟s take on these matters is now a little different; see
Daniel Deudney: Bounding Power: Republican Security Theory from the Polis to the Global
And key papers:
„The Philadelphia System; Sovereignty, Arms Control, and Balance of Power in the
American States-Union, 1787-1861‟ International Organization. (Spring 1995)*
„Publius before Kant: Federal-Republican Security and Democratic Peace‟ European
Journal of International Relations. 10, (3) (2004)
For a less sanguine take on the future of global liberalism, see
Azar Gat „The Return of Authoritarian Great Powers‟ Foreign Affairs July/August 2007 and
„Debate: Which Way is History Marching‟ (Gat, Deudney, Ikenberry, Inglehart,
Welzel) Foreign Affairs July August 2009
Chris Brown „Rules and Norms in a Post-Western World‟ (forthcoming, copy on moodle)
How successful is Ikenberry‟s attempt to develop a new strand of liberal IR theory?
What is the relationship between liberalism and neoconservatism?
Is the world becoming more „liberal‟?
Week 8: Constructivism
The meaning and nature of constructivism is hotly contested: the most prominent
constructivist from the perspective of mainstream IR theory is Alexander Wendt, who you
will have encountered earlier this term – at the other end of the constructivist spectrum is
Friedrich Kratochwil. Between these two extremes lie figures such as Harald Müller,
Thomas Risse and Emmanuel Adler. Tim Dunne provides a link between constructivism and
the English School.
Essential Reading: For ‘middle way’ constructivism see:
Thomas Risse „Let‟s Argue‟ International Organization 54, (2000) 1 – 41
Harald Müller „Arguing, Bargaining and All That‟ European Journal of International
Relations 10, (2004), 395 – 435.
Adler, A. (1997) „Seizing the Middle Ground‟ European Journal of International Relations
For the contrasting positions of Wendt and Kratochwil, Wendt‟s IO paper of 1992 and
Kratochwil‟s Millennium paper of 2007 are characteristic, but the more of these two writers
you can read the better….
Alexander Wendt, 'Anarchy is What States Make of It: The Social Construction of Power
Politics', International Organisation, (46) (1992) 391-426.*
- Social Theory of International Politics (1999) Chapter 1
- „Why a World State is Inevitable‟ European Journal of International
Relations 9/4, (2003)pp 491 – 542 [see also exchange between Wendt and
Shannon in EJIR 11 (4)]
- „The State as person in International Theory‟ Review of International Studies
30/2, (2004) pp 289-316
Alexander Wendt & Raymond Duvall „Sovereignty and the UFO‟ Political Theory 36 (4) 607
Stefano Guzzini & Anna Leander, eds. Constructivism and International Relations:
Alexander Wendt and his Critics (2006)*
Friedrich Kratochwil, Rules, Norms and Decisions (1989)
- „Sovereignty as Dominium: Is there a Right of Humanitarian Intervention‟ in
Gene Lyons and Michael Mastanduno, eds. Beyond Westphalia. (1995)
- „Sovereignty: Myth, organized hypocrisy, or generative grammar? The case
for a conceptual approach‟ (unpublished paper, available on Moodle)
[Stephen Krasner, Sovereignty: Organised Hypocrisy (1999) Chapters 1 & 8
is the target of this paper]
- „Constructing a New Orthodoxy? Wendt‟s Social Theory of International
Politics and the Constructivist Challenge‟ Millennium: Journal of
International Studies (29) (2000) 73-101
- History, Action and Identity: Revisiting the „Second‟ Great Debate and
Assessing its Importance for Social Theory European Journal of International
Relations 12 (2006) 5-29
- „Rethinking the “inter” in International Politics‟ Millennium (35) (2007), 495
Oliver Kessler, Rodney Bruce Hall, Cecelia Lynch and Nicholas Onuf eds. On Rules,
Politics, and Knowledge: Friedrich Kratochwil, International Relations, and
Domestic Affairs (Forthcoming, 2010)
Jeffrey Checkel „The Constructivist Turn in International Relations Theory‟ (A Review
Essay), World Politics 50, (2) (1998)
- „Social Constructivisms in Global and European Politics‟ (A Review Essay),
Review of International Studies 30, 2 (2004)
Tim Dunne, 'The Social Construction of International Society', European Journal of
International Relations, (1995) (1) 367-89.
Karin Fierke, & Knud-Erik Jorgensen, eds. Constructing International Relations: The Next
Martha Finnemore & Kathryn Sikkink, “International Norms and Political
Change,” International Organization (1998), .887-917
- „Taking Stock: The Constructivist Research Program in International
Relations and Comparative Politics‟ Annual Review of Political Science, 4 (2001):
Stefano Guzzini. „A Reconstruction of Constructivism in International Relations‟ European
Journal of International Relations (6) (2000) 147-182
Ian Hacking, The Social Construction of What? (2000)
Rodney Bruce Hall, National Collective Identity: Social Constructs and International
Peter Katzenstein ed. The Culture of National Security: Norms and Identity in World Politics
Vendulka Kubalkova et al International Relations in A Constructed World (1998)
Yosef Lapid & Friedrich Kratochwil eds The Return of Culture and Identity in IT Theory
Nicholas Onuf World of Our Making (1989)
- „Levels‟ European Journal of International Relations 1 (1995) 35-58.
Richard Price & Christian Reus-Smit, „Dangerous Liaisons: Critical International Theory and
Constructivism‟ European Journal of International Relations (1998)
Thomas Risse et al, The Power of Human Rights: international Norms and Domestic
J. G. Ruggie, 'Continuity and Transformation in the World Polity: Towards a Neorealist
Synthesis', World Politics, (35) (1983) 261-85.
J.G. Ruggie, Constructing the World Polity. (1998) Introduction
John Searle, The Construction of Social Reality (1995)
Maya Zehfuss Constructivism in International Relations: The Politics of Reality (2002)
Is there a single constructivist approach to the study of world politics?
How effectively can constructivism explain „actual‟ international relations?
What is more important to understanding world politics: the logic of consequences,
the logic of appropriateness, or the logic of arguing?
Week 9 The English School
This session starts by reviewing the classical English school pluralism of Bull, Wight and
their successors. It then explores three additional threads that run through the fabric of
English school theory alongside, and in debate with, this foundational core. The first is
historical, comprising mainly the work of Wight and Watson. This work concentrates on: the
evolution of international society in a world historical context; the comparison of different
international societies; and the specific, coercive story of the expansion of European
international society. The second thread is solidarism. Solidarists take a progressive view of
international relations, denying the pluralist assumption that coexistence provides the limits
of international society. They have made particular play of human rights, and their work is
strongly connected to normative theory. The third thread is the debate between structural and
normative readings of English school theory: is the framework of the three traditions
fundamentally a normative debate, or can it also be constructed as a way of looking at the
evolution and interplay of macro-scale social structures, along Wendtian lines? This
structural framing questions the linkage of solidarism to human rights, brings in the economic
sector generally neglected by the English school, and focuses on institutions as social
structures. This approach also builds strong links to constructivism, though without seeing the
English school simply as a precursor to constructivism.
Buzan, Barry and Richard Little (2009) „The Historical Expansion of International Society‟,
Clark, Ian (2009) „Towards an English School Theory of Hegemony‟, European Journal of
International Relations, 15:2, 203-228.
Suzuki, Shogo (2005) „Japan‟s Socialization into Janus-Faced European International
Society‟, European Journal of International Relations, 11:1, 137-164.
Zhang, Yongjin (1991) 'China's entry into international society: beyond the standard of
"civilization"', Review of International Studies 17:1, 3-16.
Bellamy, Alex (ed.) (2004) International Society and its Critics, Oxford University Press.
Bull, Hedley (1977) The Anarchical Society (London: Palgrave), especially pp. 3-21
* Buzan, Barry (2004) From International to World Society? (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press) (also see the discussion with Tim Dunne, Emanuel Adler and Barry
Buzan, (2005) „Forum‟, Millennium, 34(1), 156-199.
Buzan, Barry (2001) „The English School: An Underexploited Resource in IR‟, Review of
International Studies, 27:3 (2001) 471-88. And see the discussion in „Forum on the
English School‟, Review of International Studies, 27:3, 465-513.
Dunne, Tim (1998) Inventing International Society: A History of the English School,
* Gong, Gerritt W., (1984) The Standard of 'Civilization' in International Society, Oxford,
Jones, Roy, „The English School of International Relations: A Case for Closure‟, Review of
International Studies, Vol. 7, No. 1, 1981, pp. 185–206.
* Linklater, Andrew and Hidemi Suganami (2006) The English School of International
Relations: A Contemporary Reassessment, Cambridge University Press.
Little, Richard, (2000) „The English School‟s Contribution to the Study of International
Relations‟, European Journal of International Relations, 6:3, 395-422.
Vincent, John,(1986), Human Rights and International Relations: Issues and Responses,
Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
Wæver, Ole (1998) „Four Meanings of International Society: A Trans-Atlantic Dialogue' in
B.A.Roberson ed., International Society and the Development of International
Relations Theory. London, Pinter.
Watson, Adam, (1992) The Evolution of International Society, London, Routledge.
* Watson, Adam (1990) „Systems of States‟, Review of International Studies, 16:2, 99-109.
* Wheeler, Nicholas J. (1992) „Pluralist and Solidarist Conceptions of International Society:
Bull and Vincent on Humanitarian Intervention‟, Millennium 21:3, 463-487.
Wheeler, Nicholas J. (2000) Saving Strangers, Oxford, Oxford University Press.
* N.B. http://www.leeds.ac.uk/polis/englishschool/ is the online home of the English School,
containing articles, papers, and a bibliography of English School resources.
Critically assess solidarist and pluralist visions of the English School.
Is the English School best seen as a form of proto-constructivism?
Does the English School provide a convincing grand narrative for IR?
Week 10 Sovereignty
Realism, Liberalism, Constructivism and English School theory offer contrasting, and
sometimes overlapping, frameworks for explaining international politics. For all of them,
however, a distinctive feature of the international is the institution of „sovereignty‟. This
lecture demonstrates how the theoretical perspectives explored in the previous weeks give us
different ways of understanding the way in which sovereignty works as a constitutive feature
of the international realm: in materialist/ rationalist or in legal/interpretive terms. In
conclusion, we will raise the question, taken up by the critical perspectives discussed next
term, of whether any of these approaches gives us an adequate handle on state sovereignty in
a globalising age.
Stephen Krasner (1995) „Compromising Westphalia‟, International Security 20(3): 115-151.
Alexander Wendt and Daniel Friedheim (2005) „Hierarchy Under Anarchy‟, International
Organization 49: 689-721.
Robert Jackson (1999) „Sovereignty in World Politics‟, Political Studies 47(3): 431-456.
Bartelson, Jens (1995) A Genealogy of Sovereignty (New York: Cambridge University Press)
Biersteker, Thomas J. & Weber, Cynthia (eds) (1996) State Sovereignty as Social Construct
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). V useful early example of constructivist and some
more radical critical interpretations of sovereignty.
Hashmi, Sohail H. (ed) (1997) State Sovereignty: change and persistence in International
Relations (University Park PA: Pennsylvania State University Press). Useful background
collection of essays, see in particular, Philpott on „Ideas and the Evolution of Sovereignty‟.
Hinsley, R. H. (1986) Sovereignty (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press)
Holsti, K. J. (2004) Taming the Sovereigns: institutional change in international politics
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).
Jackson, Robert (1990) Quasi-States: sovereignty, international relations, and the third
world (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).
Jackson, Robert (ed) (1999) Sovereignty at the Millennium(Oxford: Blackwell). This is a
book version of a Special Issue of Political Studies 47 (3), several of the contributors share a
broadly English School approach.
Jackson, Robert (2007) Sovereignty: evolution of an idea (Cambridge MA: Polity).
Krasner, S. D. (1999) Sovereignty: organized hypocrisy? (Princeton NJ: Princeton University
Krasner, S. D. (ed) Problematic Sovereignty: contested rules and political possibilities (New
York: Columbia University Press). A look at several cases that defy traditional „bundled‟
understandings of the implications of sovereignty.
Shinoda, Hideaki (2000) Re-examining Sovereignty: from classical theory to the global age
Walker, Neil (ed) (2006) Relocating Sovereignty (Aldershot: Ashgate) – a useful collection
previously published work on sovereignty, mostly from late C20th.
There is a vast historical, legal and philosophical literature on the idea of sovereignty. Key
classical thinkers of state sovereignty within western political theory include Bodin in the
C16th, Hobbes and Grotius in the C17th, Vattel and Rousseau in the C18th, Hegel and Mill
in the C19th (see Brown et al  International Relations In Political Thought,
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) for extracts from all of the above thinkers and
suggestions for further reading. Carl Schmitt, in the C20th, introduced a decisionist
understanding of „Sovereignty‟, which has become influential in contemporary IR theory (see
Schmitt (1985) Political Theology: 4 chapters on the concept of sovereignty, Cambridge MA:
MIT Press; (1996) The Concept of the Political (Chicago: University of Chicago Press);
(2003) The Nomos of the Earth in the International Law of the Jus Publicum Europaeum
(New York: Telos). See Keene, Blaney, Inayatullah and Grovogui for the „other‟ side of the
Westphalian story: European colonialism and decolonisation:
Grovogui, S. Sovereigns, Quasi-Sovereigns and Africans: race and self-determination in
international law (Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1996)
Grovogui, S. „Sovereignty in Africa: Quasi-Statehood and Other Myths in International
Theory‟, Chapter 3 in Dunn and Shaw Africa’s Challenge to International Theory, 2001.
Grovogui, S. Beyond Eurocentrism and Anarchy: memories of international order and
institutions (Basingstoke, Palgrave, 2006)
Inayatullah, N. & Blaney, D. L. International Relations and the Problem of Difference
(London, Routledge, 2004)
Keene, E. (2002) Beyond the Anarchical Society: Grotius, Colonialism and Order in World
Politics (Cambridge, CUP).
What makes a state a state for the purposes of International Relations?
If sovereignty is „organized hypocrisy‟, what difference does that make to theorising
Are we entering a post-sovereignty world?
Theories of International Relations
Suitable for all candidates
Instructions to candidates
Time allowed: 2 hours
This paper contains eight questions. Answer two questions. Both questions will be
given equal weight.
1. To what extent should contemporary IR Theory be understood as a debate
between Kenneth Waltz and his critics?
2. “To say that force is sometimes necessary is not a call to cynicism – it is a
recognition of history, the imperfections of man and the limits of reason” (Barack
Obama – Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, 10th December 2009). How well is
Obama‟s statement supported by liberal IR theory?
3. Does the English School serve as a useful „via media‟ in IR theory?
4. “Post-structuralism is less a discrete theory than a strand of constructivism”. Do
5. Is Critical Theory in IR anything more than an exercise in utopianism?
6. What is the value in approaching issues of international security from a gendered
7. “There is little point in IR theorists studying the philosophy of science. After all, IR
is not a science”. Do you agree?
8. Are IR theories best understood as exercises in story-telling?