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This chapter discusses the different theories and approaches that characterize the study of international relations. Mainstream theories focus on the ways that states interact with one another in circumstances where no overarching authority governs their behavior — in other words, under conditions of anarchy. These theories include structural realism, neoliberal institutionalism, and the scholarship on relational contracting. An important alternative perspective — the English School — argues that, even under anarchic conditions, there is a high degree of orderliness in world affairs. Meanwhile, proponents of constructivism assert that states take shape in specific historical contexts, and that the conditions under which states coalesce and become socialized to one another play a crucial role in determining how they conceive of themselves and formulate their basic interests. Scholars of the Middle East have so far addressed only a fraction of the many theoretical debates and controversies that energize the field of international relations.

Chapter

This text argues that theory is central to explaining International Relations (IR) and that the discipline of IR is much more relevant to the world of international relations than it has been at any point in its history. Some chapters cover distinct IR theories ranging from realism/structural realism to liberalism/neoliberalism, the English school, constructivism, Marxism, critical theory, feminism, poststructuralism, green theory, and postcolonialism. Oher chapters explore International Relations theory and its relationship to social science, normative theory, globalization, and the discipline’s identity. This introduction explains why this edition has chosen to cover these theories, reflects on international theory and its relationship to the world, and considers the kind of assumptions about theory that underlie each of the approaches.

Chapter

Tim Dunne

This chapter examines the main assumptions of the English school, the principal alternative to mainstream North American theorizations of International Relations. It first provides an overview of what the English school is and how it emerged before discussing its methodology as well as its master-concept of international society. It then considers three concepts that are the primary theoretical contribution of the English school: the social order established by states and embodied in the activities of practitioners must be understood alongside the dynamics of the international system and world society. The chapter proceeds by exploring the English school’s position on the issue of human rights and its implications for justice in international relations.

Chapter

Tim Dunne

This chapter examines the main assumptions of the English school, the principal alternative to mainstream North American theorizations of International Relations. It first provides an overview of what the English school is and how it emerged before discussing its methodology as well as its master-concept of international society. It then considers three concepts that are the primary theoretical contribution of the English school: the social order established by states and embodied in the activities of practitioners must be understood alongside the dynamics of the international system and world society. The chapter proceeds by exploring the English school's position on issue of human rights and its implications for justice in international relations.

Chapter

This text argues that theory is central to explaining International Relations (IR) and that the discipline of IR is much more relevant to the world of international relations than it has been at any point in its history. Some chapters cover distinct IR theories ranging from realism/structural realism to liberalism/neoliberalism, the English school, constructivism, Marxism, critical theory, feminism, poststructuralism, green theory, and postcolonialism. Oher chapters explore International Relations theory and its relationship to social science, normative theory, globalization, and the discipline's identity. This introduction explains why this edition has chosen to cover these theories, reflects on international theory and its relationship to the world, and considers the kind of assumptions about theory that underlie each of the approaches.

Chapter

This chapter examines traditional theories in global politics. Although much of the explicit theorizing about international politics did not begin until the twentieth century, both liberalism and realism have drawn on long-standing ideas in the history of political thought to address basic problems of international order. So too has the English School which, while encompassing aspects of both liberalism and realism, has focused much more attention on the social character of international or global relations, elaborating in particular the notion of international society and its normative underpinnings. While most theorizing has been carried out largely, but not exclusively, on the basis of Western philosophical ideas, a new Chinese school of moral realism draws from ancient Chinese thought. Ultimately, both liberalism and realism have been modified over the years with competing strands developing within them, so neither can be taken as a single body of theory.

Chapter

This chapter discusses international law (IL) and international relations (IR) theory. It studies legal theory in order to better understand what law is, and how IL compares with domestic law. The chapter then introduces the major schools of IR theory, with a focus on how they conceptualize IL and its role in enabling and constraining the conduct of international politics. The disciplinary estrangement between IR and IL began to ease at the end of the 1980s. By that time there were already important strands within IR, including the English School, that were seeking to explain the prevalence of cooperation in an anarchical international system. New generations of IR scholars began theorizing the role of IL in structuring international politics, particularly from the perspectives of liberalism and constructivism, as well as from a range of critical approaches.

Chapter

This chapter examines traditional theories in global politics. It begins with a discussion of early liberal approaches, with particular emphasis on liberal international theory whose proponents include U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and Norman Angell. Liberal international theory is characterised by an optimism concerning the prospects of a peaceful international order established through strong international institutions underpinned by international law. The chapter proceeds by considering the emergence of ‘realism’ as a general approach to the study of politics, along with the different approaches to the study of international politics following World War II, including positivism. It also explores the rise of the English School and the concept of international society before concluding with an analysis of neo-liberalism and neorealism that resulted from revisions of both liberalism and realism in the post-war period.

Chapter

This chapter examines the origins and the entry of Middle East states into the international system after the First World War. Drawing on the ideas of the English School of international relations, it traces the emergence of the Middle East that saw states entering and participating in the international society. After providing a historical overview of the Arab entry to international relations, the chapter considers diplomacy under the Ottoman Empire as well as the Ottoman legacy of statehood. It then discusses plans for the partition of the Middle East during the First World War, along with the post-war settlement. It also describes the colonial framework of the Middle East that emerged from the post-war negotiations and concludes with an assessment of the Arab states’ efforts to address the Palestine crisis in 1947 and 1948.

Chapter

This chapter examines traditional theories in global politics. It begins with a discussion of early liberal approaches, with particular emphasis on liberal international theory whose proponents include U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and Norman Angell. Liberal international theory is characterised by an optimism concerning the prospects of a peaceful international order established through strong international institutions underpinned by international law. The chapter proceeds by considering the emergence of ‘realism’ as a general approach to the study of politics, along with the different approaches to the study of international politics following World War II, including positivism. It also explores the rise of the English School and the concept of international society before concluding with an analysis of neo-liberalism and neorealism that resulted from revisions of both liberalism and realism in the post-war period.

Chapter

This chapter examines the different theories and approaches that characterize the study of international relations, along with their application to the Middle East. International relations theory takes many forms and presents a variety of challenges that can be addressed using Middle Eastern cases. The field of international relations is dominated by structural realist theory. The chapter considers the assumptions of structural realism, neoliberal institutionalism, the English School, historical sociology, international society, constructivism, and relational contracting, along with post-structuralism and post-modernism. It also discusses political culture and statistical studies of world politics. In particular, it analyses some key findings from quantitative research in international relations. The chapter concludes with an assessment of power transition theory and power cycle theory, along with conceptual contributions from regional specialists.