THEORIES OF International Relations
Winter Term 1996
Simon Duke
Otto Pick
Department of International Relations and European Studies
Central European University

Course Description

The purpose of the course is to provide an overview of both classical and modern IR theory, to give an account of the evolution of thinking about International Relations, to discuss the theoretical concepts currently in use and to offer students a conceptual framework leading to a deeper understanding of the central issues of international politics.


Week 1. Introduction: How useful is theory? Special characteristics of theory in the social sciences.

Week 2. Concepts: State, nation, sovereignty, legitimacy, etc. (Read Lerche and Said).

Week 3. The realistic approach - power. Capability and the foreign policy process. (Read Aron - Part I Theory, and Carr).

Week 4. The balance of power. Power political models of IR. (Aron and Carr).

Week 5. National Interest - problems of perception and definition. (Read Frankel).

Week 6. The idealistic approach. (Read Burton).

Week 7. Functionalism and neofunctionalism. Regionalism. (Read Groom & Taylor, and Haas).

Week 8. Globalism and interdependence. (Read Keohane & Nye).

Week 9. Ideology and international Relations: issues of identity, legitimacy, perception and rationalization. The role of nationalism. (Read Luard).

Week 10. International institutions: limitations sovereignty. (Read Luard).

Week 11. Conclusions and summing up.

Required Reading:
Carr, E.H., The Twenty Years' Crisis. (Should be read by the end of Week 3)
Doherty &;Pfalzgraff. Contending theories of International Relations.
Vasquez, J.A. 1990. Classics of International Relations. Prentice-Hall.

Recommended (see above):
Lerche & Said. Concepts of International Politics.
Aron, R. Peace and War.
Burton, J.W. World Society.
Haas, E.B. Beyond the Nation State.
Groom & Taylor. Functionalism.
Frankel, J. National Interest.
Keohane & Nye. Interdependence.
Bull, H. The Anarchical Society.
Luard, E., ed. 1992. Basic Texts in International Relations. Macmillan.

Donelan, M. Elements of International Political Theory.
Columbis & Wolfe. Introduction to International Relations.
Wight & Porter. International Theory.
Waltz, K. Man, the State and War.
Morgenthau, H. Politics among Nations.

CRC-Curriculum Resource Center
CEU Budapest, Hungary
Modified: April, 1996


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