The purpose of this unit is to provide students with knowledge regarding some of the different theoretical lenses that can be used to interrogate international politics. These lenses, which include "rationalist" theories such as Realism and Liberalism and "reflectivist" theories such as Constructivism and Post-Structuralism, help us to interpret the world in different ways. They also form frameworks in which research on international politics can be undertaken and evaluated. This unit asks students to engage with and evaluate examples of academic research, in part as a means of preparing students to undertake their own research later in their studies. As such, this unit is particularly suited to supporting students' work in capstone units and in postgraduate study.

Unit details

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ASP2007 - Dictatorship and Democracy

ASP2010 - Origins of International Politics

ASP2011 - Foundations of Political Science

Students enrolled in course code ABAB or LBLA must have completed two of the following units ASP2011 Foundations of Political Science, ASP2007 Dictatorship and Democracy, ASP2010 Origins of International Politics.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Critically review complex academic work that utilises IR theory and compose a guide that elucidates that work to other students;  
  2. Investigate issues relating to international politics, interrogate those issues through the application of International Relations theories and formulate a research plan;  
  3. Locate primary and secondary materials relating to International Relations theory and international political issues, discriminate amongst such sources according to their relevance and cite such sources in the context of coursework; and  
  4. Compose and present clear, coherent and persuasive arguments regarding International Relations theory.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Assignment 2 A4 page guide to an article on IR theory (500 words) 30%
Essay Fully-referenced, academic essay on IR theories (1500 words) 40%
Examination End of semester, two-hour, essay-based exam 30%

Required reading

International relations theory: a new introduction,
Jorgensen, K 2010,
Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

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