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 are the main functions of diplomacy?
  • Who can be a diplomat?
  • Which factors affect diplomatic negotiation processes?

2. Definitions

Diplomacy, narrowly defined, refers to the conduct of international relations through state officials who seek to secure the objectives of their foreign policies through negotiation rather than resorting to force, propaganda, or law (Berridge 2002: 1). It has been termed ‘the master institution’ of international society at least since Renaissance Italy when the network of diplomats and consuls who enjoyed the protection of special legal rules, such as diplomatic immunity, and were permanently resident abroad, began to come into place (Wight 1978: 113; Berridge et al. 2001).

While this definition appears straightforward, scholars continue to disagree on conceptualizations of diplomacy on at least three accounts: the peaceful ...

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