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Stephanie Lawson

Global Politics is an introduction to international relations. It introduces the key theories and concepts underpinning the discipline, providing a foundation for the study of politics on both a personal and global scale, including issues relating to gender, sexuality, and ethnicity, as well as the economy, environment, and concepts of justice. The text presents theories in their historical context, demonstrating how they can evolve over time. Case studies, both contemporary and historical, and biographies of key figures, help bring these issues to life. Additional features, such as key debates and summary questions, provide opportunities to analyse issues from a range of perspectives.


This chapter evaluates new modes of theorizing in global politics. These are based on long-standing concerns in social and political theory and all of them involve identity politics in one way or another—a form of politics in which an individual’s membership of a group, based on certain distinctive characteristics such as race, ethnicity, religion, gender, and sexuality, acquires significant political salience and is implicated in hierarchies of power. It follows that identity itself involves issues of both who an individual is, and who that individual is not. This involves not just self-identification or self-definition, but is also mediated by the perceptions of others. In some cases there are connections with social movements concerned with issues of justice and equality in both domestic and global spheres. In almost all cases the specific issues of concern, and their theorization, have come relatively late to the agenda of global politics and so may be said to constitute a ‘new wave’ of theorizing in the discipline. The chapter looks at feminism, gender theory, racism, cultural theory, colonialism, and postcolonial theory.