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.
Ideas and Norms
Ideas and Norms
1. Core Questions Addressed
- What is the difference between ideas and norms?
- How do ideas and norms relate to interests in international politics?
- Do ideas and norms matter at all?
With the rise of various forms of constructivism (→ Theory Concept: Social Constructivism) in International Relations since the 1980s, there has emerged a new interest in the contribution of non-material, ‘ideational’ factors to policy-making. In contrast to rationalism, such approaches argue that interests cannot serve as the only explanation of action; that actors often do not act rationally according to ‘objective’ cost–benefit calculations; and that subjective preference orders are decisive but do themselves require an explanation. All of these arguments point to the relevance of ideas and norms. However, there are substantial differences ...