International Relations Theory

Following on from your previous studies in international relations (IR) theory, this module explores what we call “critical” theoretical approaches to studying and practising IR.

These approaches characterise the so-called third (or even fourth) great debate in the discipline of IR, and they also mark the entry into global political debates of new ideas about identity, power, resistance, and inequality in the international sphere.

The module is divided into two blocks of topics: the first of these will introduce you to current theoretical debates through the lens of its newest and most innovative schools of thought, ranging from feminism and queer theory to post-development thought and the Frankfurt School.

The second group of topics covers important themes and problems that are shaping international affairs today—and that are generating new and interesting debates amongst IR scholars.

Thus, this module equips you with new and powerful conceptual tools, before examining a series of pivotal and evolving issues (migration, human rights, border control) and inviting you to put your newly acquired tools to use in analysing them. Throughout, you will be encouraged to debate foundational political questions with your colleagues, consider the impact of IR concepts in both theory and practice on a wide range of actors and institutions, and relate what you are learning to emerging news stories and developments in the world of global politics


  • 1 x 4,000 word essay (100%)