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Introduction to International Relations: Theories and Approaches

Introduction to International Relations: Theories and Approaches (8th edn)

Georg Sørensen, Jørgen Møller, and Robert Jackson
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date: 07 December 2023

p. 1375. International Societylocked

p. 1375. International Societylocked

  • Georg Sørensen, Georg SørensenUniversity of Aarhus
  • Jørgen MøllerJørgen MøllerUniversity of Aarhus
  •  and Robert JacksonRobert Jacksonformerly at the University of Boston


This chapter examines the International Society tradition of international relations (IR). International Society, also known as the ‘English School’, is an approach to world politics that places emphasis on international history, ideas, structures, institutions, and values. After providing an overview of International Society’s basic assumptions and claims, the chapter considers the three traditions associated with the leading ideas of the most outstanding classical theorists of IR such as Niccolò Machiavelli and Immanuel Kant: realism, rationalism, and revolutionism. It then explores International Society’s views regarding order and justice, world society, statecraft and responsibility, and humanitarian responsibility and war; as well as how International Society scholars have used a historical approach to understand earlier international systems and the development of international society. It also discusses several major criticisms against the International Society approach to IR and concludes with an overview of the research agenda of International Society after the Cold War.

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