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.

Levels of Analysis

Levels of analysis

1. Core Questions Addressed

  • What are the levels of analysis in International Relations?
  • To what extent do levels of analysis matter for our analyses?
  • What are the problems with the neorealist conception of the system level?

2. Definitions

The idea of different levels of analysis in International Relations was originally brought into the discipline by Kenneth Waltz, but its most famous statement remains David Singer's 1961 article ‘The Levels-of-Analysis Problem in International Relations’ (Singer 1961). Singer considers a level of analysis to be an ‘orientation’ (Singer 1961: 82) with which analysts approach a problem, in which they can always look ‘upon the components or upon the system’ (Singer 1961: 77). In International Relations, the components are usually considered to be states, and the system the ...

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