International Relations is a vibrant field of significant growth and change. This book guides students through the complexities of over 40 central concepts and core theories, relating them at all times to contemporary issues and debates.

Each concept is divided into five sections to allow rapid familiarization with the topic and provide signposts for further exploration:

Core questions to address; Definition; Theoretical perspectives; Empirical problems; Core reading and useful websites

In addition the major theories are covered by six-part entries that give a 360 degree view of the strengths, weaknesses, applications and methodologies of each one:

An introduction to the core questions; Overview and background; Methodologies; Empirical application; Central criticism; Core reading and useful websites

Clear and highly readable, Key Concepts in International Relations is an essential guide for students on politics and international relations courses.



1. Core Questions Addressed

  • What is the main characteristic of the international system?
  • To what extent is anarchy a given, or can it be altered?
  • What are the consequences of anarchy for state identity and behaviour?

2. Definitions

The concept of anarchy at its core simply means that there is no superior power within a system that would be able to enforce rules. It was after the First World War that G. Lowes Dickinson (1926) introduced the idea of an ‘international anarchy’, which, like his contemporary Norman Angell (1910; de Wilde 1991: 64), he saw as the main cause of war, as there is no higher authority that would set limits to hostilities between states (see Schmidt 1998: 444). This does not mean that anarchy always results in chaos ...

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