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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: 09 August 2022

p. 332. IR as an Academic Subjectlocked

p. 332. IR as an Academic Subjectlocked

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

Abstract

This chapter examines how thinking about international relations (IR) has evolved since IR became an academic subject around the time of the First World War. The focus is on four established IR traditions: realism, liberalism, International Society, and International Political Economy (IPE). The chapter first considers three major debates that have arisen since IR became an academic subject at the end of the First World War: the first was between utopian liberalism and realism; the second between traditional approaches and behaviouralism; the third between neorealism/neoliberalism and neo-Marxism. There is an emerging fourth debate, that between established traditions and post-positivist alternatives. The chapter concludes with an analysis of alternative approaches that challenge the established traditions of IR, and with a discussion about criteria for good theory in IR.

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