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International Relations Theories

Discipline and Diversity

Fifth Edition

Edited by Tim Dunne, Milja Kurki, and Steve Smith

17 December 2020

ISBN: 9780198814443

420 pages

In Stock

Price: £37.99

Unrivalled coverage of IR theories from leading experts whose case studies show readers how theory can be applied to address concrete political problems.


Unrivalled coverage of IR theories from leading experts, featuring a new chapter that reflects on the historic marginalisation of global IR and a wide range of case studies that show readers how theory can be applied to address concrete political problems.

  • Expert line-up of contributors offer coverage of dominant and emerging theories and arguments from diverse perspectives
  • Includes coverage of historically marginalised theories, including postcolonialism and environmentalism
  • A case study in each chapter shows how theory can be used to explain real-world problems and dilemmas and additional questions to encourage students to analyse and evaluate the different theories for themselves
  • Boxes highlighting key books or articles introduce students to prominent works in the field to encourage wider reading and research interests

New to this edition

  • New chapter on global IR by Professor Amitav Acharya encourages students to critically reflect on the context in which IR developed and appreciate the importance of viewing international relations theories from truly representative perspectives
  • Revised part structure introducing each section provides an overarching narrative to the text, helping students to understand and interpret different approaches
  • Updated online resources include pointers on answering case study questions, supporting students to apply theories to real world issues

About the Author(s)

Edited by Tim Dunne, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, University of Queensland, Milja Kurki, Professor of International Relations Theory, Aberystwyth University, and Steve Smith, University of Exeter, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive

Professor Tim Dunne is Pro-Vice Chancellor at The University of Queensland (UQ) and Senior Researcher at the Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect. Previously, he was Executive Dean of Humanities and Social Science at UQ. Prior to moving to Queensland, he was Professor of International Relations and Head of School at the University of Exeter. He began his career at the University of Wales in Aberystwyth after completing doctoral training at the University of Oxford. He is a widely published author, having written and edited twelve books and over fifty articles and chapters. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences.

Professor Milja Kurki is Professor of International Relations Theory at Aberystwyth University. Her areas of interest are international relations theory, philosophy of science, democracy and democracy promotion, critical theory and more recently scientific cosmology, social-natural science nexus and posthumanism. Between 2008 and 2012 she acted as the Principal Investigator of a major research project 'Political Economies of Democratisation' funded by the European Research Council. She is a co-editor of the journal International Relations, Director of the Planetary Challenges and Politics Centre and the Director of Research in the Department of International Politics. Her PhD was focused on the analysis of the meaning of causality in IR scholarship. She then led a major ERC project on the conceptual foundations of democracy promotion practices between 2008 and 2012, a project which involved extensive policy engagement.

Professor Sir Steve Smith has been Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Exeter since October 2002. He was previously Senior Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic Affairs) and Professor of International Politics at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, as well as Head of the Department of International Politics, and Director of the Centre for Public Choice Studies at the University of East Anglia. Sir Steve is a graduate of the University of Southampton and holds a BSc in Politics and International Studies, an MSc in International Studies and a PhD in International Relations. He has written or edited 17 books, published well over 100 academic papers and has given over 170 academic presentations in 22 countries. Sir Steve was knighted in the 2011 Queen's Birthday Honours for services to higher education locally and nationally.

Table of Contents

    Introduction: Diversity and Disciplinarity in International Relations Theory, Steve Smith
    1:International Relations and Social Science, Colin Wight and Milja Kurki
    2:Classical Realism, Richard Ned Lebow
    3:Structural Realism, John J. Mearsheimer
    4:Liberalism, Bruce Russett
    5:Neoliberalism, Jennifer Sterling-Folker
    6:The English School, Tim Dunne
    7:Marxism, Mark Rupert
    8:Critical Theory, Steven Roach
    9:Constructivism, Karin Fierke
    10:Feminism, Ann Tickner and Laura Sjoberg
    11:Poststructuralism, Roland Bleiker and David Campbell
    12:Postcolonialism, Shampa Biswas
    13:Normative IR Theory, Toni Erskine
    14:Green Theory, Robyn Eckersley
    15:International Relations Theory and Globalization, Colin Hay
    16:Global International Relations, Amitav Acharya
    17:Still a Discipline After All These Debates?, Ole Waever


"Chapter 17 on Global International Relations is very well-written and informative. The author not only makes the compelling case that the future of IR is global, but that IR has always been global. " - Dr Dimitrios Stroikos, Department of Politics, University of York

Additional Resources

Digital formats and resources
The fifth edition is available for students and institutions to purchase in a variety of formats, and is supported by online resources.

The e-book offers a mobile experience and convenient access along with functionality tools, navigation features, and links that offer extra learning support: www.oxfordtextbooks.co.uk/ebooks

This text is supported by a range of online resources, to encourage deeper engagement with the subject matter, including:

For students:
- Explore areas of research interest with web links organized by chapter that point you to pertinent articles and useful websites
- Test your understanding of key terms with the flashcard glossary
- Use our revision guide as a useful overview of key theories and issues to form the basis for your assessment preparation
-Develop your skills of critical evaluation with pointers on answering case study questions, helping you to apply theories to real world issues

For lecturers:
- Use the adaptable PowerPoint slides as the basis for lecture presentations or seminar discussion, ensuring efficient, effective teaching preparation