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 distinguishes hegemony from other forms of power?
  • What is the difference between a realist and a critical definition of hegemony?
  • Why does hegemony facilitate cooperation?

2. Definitions

In everyday parlance, the term hegemony often simply characterizes the relationship between a great power and the states that it dominates. A hegemon then becomes a state that is able to dictate the behaviour of other states. Yet the Hellenic origins of ‘hegemony’ indicate that more is at stake here – in Greek, it stands for ‘leadership’. A leader however does not simply get his will through the application of brute force. Indeed, leadership implies duties for the leader and a sense of responsibility.

In International Relations, there are two broad definitions of hegemony. A first one comes out ...

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