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 makes terrorism a highly contested concept in International Relations?
  • What are the central theoretical approaches towards analysing terrorism?
  • How do the United Nations seek to combat terrorism in the twenty-first century?

2. Definitions

Since the start of the new millennium terrorism has been cast as the most vital security problem of western societies by media, political representatives and also by some scholars. Nevertheless, terrorism is by no means a modern phenomenon, but has in fact posed a threat to human life and societies since the ancient world: ancient examples of terrorism, mainly motivated by religious goals, are the Jewish Zealots in Palestine aiming to eliminate Roman rule, or the Muslim Assassins in the Middle East, operating for over two hundred years in order to ‘purify’ ...

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