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Cover International Relations Theories

Introduction: Diversity and Disciplinarity in International Relations Theory  

Steve Smith

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.


Cover International Relations Theories

8. Critical Theory  

Steven C. Roach

This chapter examines the various assumptions of critical theory espoused by the Frankfurt school, with particular emphasis on how the Frankfurt school’s critiques of authoritarianism and repression influenced the critical interventions by International Relations (IR) theorists. The chapter focuses on two major strands of critical International Relations theory: normative theory and the Marxist-based critique of the political economy. After providing an overview of the Frankfurt school and critical IR theory, the chapter explores critical theorists’ views on universal morality and political economy. It then discusses Jürgen Habermas’s ideas in international relations and presents a case study of the Arab Spring. It concludes by analysing the concept of critical reflexivity and how it can show knowledge and social reality are co-produced through social interaction, and how this interaction can, in turn, produce practical or empirical knowledge of the changing moral and legal dynamics of prominent global institutions.


Cover Contemporary Security Studies

7. Critical Security Studies: A Schismatic History  

Mutimer David and Derek Verbakel

This chapter provides a partial history of a label. It is partial both in that it is not, and cannot be, complete, and in that I, David Mutimer, am both the author of, and participant in, the history. It is therefore partial in the way all other history is partial. The label is ‘Critical Security Studies’. The chapter tells a story of the origin of the label and the way it has developed and fragmented since the early 1990s. It sets out the primary claims of the major divisions that have emerged within the literatures to which the label has been applied: constructivism, critical theory, and poststructuralism. Ultimately, the chapter suggests that Critical Security Studies needs to foster an ‘ethos of critique’ in either the study or refusal of security, and that the chapter is an instance of that ethos directed at Critical Security Studies itself.


Cover Contemporary Terrorism Studies

21. Responding to Terrorism Nonviolently  

Sondre Lindahl and Richard Jackson

This chapter explores non-violent responses to terrorism. It notes the main failures and limitations of violent or force-based counterterrorism, before examining alternative non-violent approaches used to reduce the incidence of terrorism and transform violent conflict into political conflict. The most common alternative approach in an effort of conflict resolution and promoting a political settlement is the use of dialogue and negotiations. The chapter also discusses the literature on suggestions and guidance for further developing approaches to non-violent counterterrorism such as non-violent resistance, unarmed peacekeeping, non-warring communities, and social defence. Sondre Lindahl's critical theory of counterterrorism is based on principles such as needing to treat terrorism as a political phenomenon and aiming for more than the elimination of terrorists.