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.

International Society

International society

1. Core Questions Addressed

  • What is the difference between an international society and an international system?
  • How has international society evolved, and what are its present challenges?
  • How does international society relate to world society?

2. Definitions

The concept of international society is one of the core contributions of the so-called ‘English School’ of International Relations to the study of international politics. Hedley Bull, one of the most important scholars working from within this school, defined international society as ‘a group of states, conscious of certain common interests and common values’ that ‘conceive themselves to be bound by a common set of rules in their relations with one another, and share in the working of common institutions’ (Bull 1977: 13). The society is therefore ‘international’ in that its ...

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