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

  • How can we best achieve lasting peace?
  • How can the power of states be constrained?
  • What role does expertise play in international/global governance?

2. Definitions

Functionalism is an approach that is used in different areas, from sociology to architecture. Despite their differences, all functionalists – as the name suggests – emphasize the function of an entity. Thus, in sociology, functionalists explain the existence of social structures with societal needs. In architecture and design, functionalists became known for the slogan that ‘form follows function’, rather than, for instance, criteria of beauty.

In International Relations, functionalism became largely associated with the work of David Mitrany during and after the Second World War. Like many of his contemporaries, Mitrany considered nationalism and the political organization of societies in nation-states ...

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