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 differences between empire and Empire?
  • What are the main theoretical explanations for imperialism?
  • Why does empire continue to be of interest?

2. Definitions

While the age of empires has passed with the process of decolonization in the twentieth century, the notion of empire and its associated terms continue to be a well-used currency in International Relations. There are three main understandings of empire. First, and most traditionally, empire may denote a composite of territories and peoples of vast extent, usually created by conquest, stretching far beyond the ‘homelands’ of the rulers. Said rulers – who may be a single person, a societal elite or a nation-state – are in possession of absolute sovereignty and directly administer and often economically exploit different communities ...

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