contemporary theory of international relations

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CONTEMPORARY THEORY OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
Programme of the course
Dr. Margarita Šešelgytė
Institute of International Relations and Political Science
Vilnius University
Aim of the programme: to introduce to the students main concepts, theories and debates in
contemporary International Relations, to enable students to apply theories of International Relations
in analysing current trends and main events of international politics.
Learning outcomes: graduating a short 16 hours module Contemporary Theory of International
Relations students will be able to understand main concepts of International Relations, to
understand main premises of the contemporary theories of International Relations, to be familiar
with major debates of the contemporary theories of International Relations, to be able to analyse
current trends and main events of international politics applying contemporary theories of
International Relations.
Duration of the module: 16 academic hours.
Teaching methods: 5 lectures /seminars.
Evaluation: Written exam and participation in seminars (discussions) (100 per cent)
Programme:
1 lecture (3 academic hours) Introduction to the main concepts and theories of International
Relations, April 8th, Monday.
Main actors in international relations, the principle of sovereignty, the role of international
institutions, the concept of power, the concept of identity, issues of security and insecurity, new
issues in international relations. Thinking, understanding and explaining international relations in a
scientific way. Historical development of the discipline and main debates.
Literature:
Rosenau, James N. (1999). Thinking Theory Thoroughly. In Paul R. Viotti, Mark V. Kauppi (eds.),
International Relations Theory: Realism, Pluralism, Globalism, and Beyond. Boston: Allyn and
Bacon, 29- 37.
2 lecture (3 academic hours), Realism and Neo-realism in International Relations, April 9th,
Tuesday.
Main premises of Realism, main actors of international politics, state and security dilemma, world
order, neo – realism vs. realism, systemic approach towards the international relations, balance of
power, criticisms of Realism and Neo- realism.
Literature:
Thucydides. (1999). The Melian Dialogue. In Paul R. Viotti, Mark V. Kauppi (eds.), International
Relations Theory: Realism, Pluralism, Globalism, and Beyond. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 100-105.
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Waltz Kenneth N. (1999). Explaining War. In Paul R. Viotti, Mark V. Kauppi (eds.), International
Relations Theory: Realism, Pluralism, Globalism, and Beyond. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 130-144.
3 lecture (3 academic hours) Liberalism in International Relations, April 10th, Wednesday.
Main premises of Pluralism/liberalism. Pluralism and the idea of international society. The role of
institutions. The meaning of perception and misperception. The role of decision making. Liberal
peace theory. Critics of Pluralism/liberalism.
Literature: Doyle Michael W. (1999) Liberalism in World Politics. In Paul R. Viotti, Mark V.
Kauppi (eds.), International Relations Theory: Realism, Pluralism, Globalism, and Beyond. Boston:
Allyn and Bacon, 233-245.
4 lecture (3 academic hours) Constructivism and Postmodernism in International Relations,
April 11 Thursday.
Positivism – post-positivism debate in International Relations. “Constructuvisms” in International
Relations. Structural Constructivism. Structure – Agent debate in international relations. The
concept of identity in international relations. Criticism of Constructivism. Postmodernism.
Postmodernist critique of main stream International Relations theories. Power and knowledge in
international relations. Geneology. Discourse. Textual strategies of Postmodernism: deconstruction
and double reading.
Literature: Wendt Alexander (1999). Anarchy is what states make of it: the social construction of
power politics. In Paul R. Viotti, Mark V. Kauppi (eds.), International Relations Theory: Realism,
Pluralism, Globalism, and Beyond. Boston: Allyn and Bacon 434-459.
5 lecture (2 academic hours) Critical Theory of International Relations April 11 Thursday
Marxism and Critical Theory of International Relations .Main premises of Marxism, Neo-Marxism
and theories of World Systems. Frankfurt school. Feminism.
Literature: Wallerstein Immanuel (1999). Patterns and Perspectives of the Capitalist World Economy. In Paul R. Viotti, Mark V. Kauppi (eds.), International Relations Theory: Realism,
Pluralism, Globalism, and Beyond. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 369-376.
Final conclusions and feedback.
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