Theories of world affairs
Chou, Mark and Poole, Avery Dorothy Howard. (2015) Theories of world affairs. In In Kavalski, Emilian (Ed.). Encounters with World Affairs: An Introduction to International Relations pp. 37 - 61 Ashgate Publishing Limited.
|Authors||Chou, Mark and Poole, Avery Dorothy Howard|
This chapter demonstrates the importance of theory in the study of International Relations. The suggestion is that that the nature of the international system – how and why it came to be – cannot be fully understood without first understanding the system’s conceptual building blocks. Thus, we challenge the commonplace dichotomy that is thought to exist between ‘theory’ and ‘practice’ in International Relations. This chapter looks broadly at some of the most prominent theories of International Relations that have gone on to not only alter the debates within the discipline, but also fundamentally impact the course of twentieth-century world affairs. First, we develop this discussion by saying a few words about the role and significance of theory. We argue that theory helps us to interpret facts and make sense of reality; it helps us to categorize, give significance to and predict phenomena that may otherwise seem unintelligible. Second, we review the so-called Great Debates that have influenced the theoretical trajectory of International Relations since the discipline’s establishment in the wake of World War I. Third, we explore some of the more prominent theoretical perspectives which have influenced International Relations scholars and practitioners. We focus on familiarizing students with the two mainstream theories of Liberalism and Realism, and their so-called ‘neo’ variants. We also consider Constructivism and Feminism – theoretical perspectives which have set out to critique many of the liberal and realist assumptions entrenched within contemporary International Relations.
|Keywords||International Relations Theory; the Great Debates; Liberalism; Realism; Constructivism; Feminism|
|Page range||37 - 61|
|Book title||Encounters with World Affairs: An Introduction to International Relations|
|Publisher||Ashgate Publishing Limited|
|Place of publication||United Kingdom|
|Research Group||School of Arts|
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