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.

Theory Concept: Postmodernism and Poststructuralism

Theory concept: Postmodernism and poststructuralism

1. Core Questions Addressed

  • What is the difference between postmodernism and poststructuralism?
  • To what extent is postmodernism/poststructuralism a critical theory?
  • What are the basic challenges of postmodernism/poststructuralism to International Relations?

2. Overview and Background

Postmodernism has become a central approach in IR as well as in social sciences more generally. It was initially associated with architecture, art, literature and music, and then found its way into the humanities and social sciences. Its effects upon IR were first felt as part of the ‘third debate’ (Lapid 1989) during the 1980s, when the discipline was opening up to self-reflection, and are now central to many of the debates within the discipline. This is no doubt in large part due to a certain radical chic, ...

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