Theories and Approaches in International Relations

2018-2019

Course Objective

Learning outcomes:

Knowledge and understanding - The student has acquired knowledge and
understanding of:
(1) the theoretical foundations of IR, thus enabling them to analyse
concrete historical developments from various theoretical perspectives.

Application - The student has acquired the competences to:
(2) critically assess political science literature, in particular by
placing it within a historical context and by reflecting upon both the
social constitution of theory as well as its socially constitutive
effects.

Making judgments – The student is able to demonstrate:
3) critical reflection upon the meta-theoretical foundations - and their
methodological and normative implications – of (social science) theory
(increasing their reflexive knowledge of both the main traditions and of
paradigmatic change).

Course Content

Whereas IR traditionally (and narrowly) defined deals almost exclusively
with relations between states, the 'discipline' has moved much beyond
such a narrow state-centrism in order to embrace a much broader
conception of world politics in which there is attention to both state
and non-state actors and both interstate and other global social
structures. This broader conception of world politics is point of
departure for this introductory course and is in fact taken one step
further by departing from the notion that contemporary world politics is
of a fundamentally transnational nature. Thus, politics is not just
between states but also the political struggle between various
transnational interest groups, movements and social forces. Although
there is no world polity, there is a European polity, and
internationally there are numerous international organizations that
constitute institutionalized structures of global governance. Policy,
finally, is not just produced by states as foreign policy, but also by
the aforementioned international organizations and by the EU. A second
characteristic is that although we consider IR as a mature sub-
discipline of political science which is grounded in various approaches
and methods of general political science (and therefore clearly linked
to the other stream of the MSc in Political Science), we also recognize
the contributions from other disciplines (including philosophy,
economics, sociology, anthropology, and law) to the field and stress the
importance of interdisciplinary research. This course is structured as a
historical overview of the development of the discipline, placed in a
wider historical context of 'real-world' developments in the global
system - stressing the obvious links between those developments and the
development of theory - as well as in a wider social science context,
trying to see how IR theory developed in relation to other disciplines
and to wider debates within the social sciences. Next to the historical
context considerable attention is given to the meta-theoretical
assumptions (and methodological implications thereof) underlying various
approaches and theories as we believe that these are key to
understanding the major debates, and that - for their own research - it
is important that students critically reflect upon those assumptions.

Teaching Methods

Seminar. Building on prior knowledge of students (i.e., students from
our Bachelor's programme are assumed to have basic knowledge of the IR
and European integration literature used in the bachelor, and students
coming from outside to have an equivalent knowledge), students will work
through the literature in tutorial form. The total amount of reading
will be about 80 pages per session.

Method of Assessment

A final research paper (70)%;
A book review of academic publication (30%);
One of the following: a) commentary/blog on contemporary IR event; b)
summary of academic journal article (pass/fail with peer-feedback).

Literature

Theories of International Relations (5th edition), Burchil et al.
Additional required readings (academic journal articles), to be
announced in the course manual (see CANVAS).

Target Audience

Students in the Master Political Science (mandatory course for students
in all tracks).
Also open as an elective course for students in the Master Law and
Politics of International Security, Master Educatie in de Mens- en
Maatschappijwetenschappen, Master Environment and Resource Management
and Exchange Students.

General Information

Course Code S_TAIR
Credits 6 EC
Period P1
Course Level 400
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator prof. dr. P.H. Pattberg
Examiner prof. dr. P.H. Pattberg
Teaching Staff prof. dr. P.H. Pattberg

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Teaching Methods Lecture