Part I Introduction This part introduces the main themes and objectives of the book, which is to provide a comprehensive and authoritative overview of the field of international relations. It also discusses the practical discourses of international relations that shape the field's debates and controversies, such as utopianism, realism, liberalism, and constructivism. 1:Between utopia and reality: the practical discourses of international relations, Christian Reus-Smit and Duncan Snidal This chapter examines how different practical discourses of international relations have emerged and evolved over time, and how they have influenced the field's theoretical and empirical inquiries. It argues that practical discourses are not only normative frameworks that guide action, but also analytical lenses that shape our understanding of world politics. Part II Imagining the Discipline This part explores how different scholars have imagined and conceptualized the field of international relations, and how their visions have shaped its boundaries and agendas. It covers topics such as the role of the state, the emergence of global society, the normative aspirations of the field, and its challenges and limitations. 2:The state and international relations, David A. Lake This chapter analyzes how the state has been understood and theorized in international relations, and how it has influenced the field's core questions and assumptions. It traces the evolution of state-centric approaches from realism to neoliberalism, and examines their strengths and weaknesses. It also considers alternative perspectives that challenge the primacy of the state, such as constructivism, critical theory, and postmodernism. 3:From international relations to global society, Michael Barnett and Kathryn Sikkink This chapter explores how international relations has expanded its scope and vision from studying interstate interactions to examining global society. It discusses how global society is defined and constituted by various actors, norms, institutions, and networks that transcend state boundaries. It also assesses how global society affects international relations theory and practice, and what challenges it poses for the field. 4:The point is not just to explain the world but to change it, Robert Cox This chapter reflects on the normative dimension of international relations, and how it relates to its empirical dimension. It argues that international relations is not only a scientific endeavor that seeks to explain the world, but also a political endeavor that seeks to change it. It advocates for a critical approach that exposes the power structures and interests that shape world politics, and that envisions alternative possibilities for a more just and humane world. 5:A disabling discipline?, Phillip Darby This chapter critiques the dominant paradigms and practices of international relations, and how they have marginalized or excluded other voices and perspectives. It challenges the Eurocentric bias of the field, its state-centric focus, its positivist methodology, and its universalist claims. It calls for a more pluralist and inclusive discipline that recognizes its own limitations and biases, and that engages with diverse forms of knowledge and experience. Part III Major theoretical perspectives This part surveys the major theoretical perspectives that have shaped the field of international relations, such as realism, liberalism, Marxism, constructivism, critical theory, postmodernism, feminism etc. It examines their main assumptions, arguments, contributions, criticisms etc. It also discusses their ethical implications for world politics. 6:Eclectic theorizing in the study and practice of international relations,
Peter Katzenstein and Rudra Sil
This chapter advocates for an eclectic approach to theorizing in international relations,
that draws on multiple perspectives and methods to address complex problems
and phenomena. It argues that eclectic theorizing can enhance the explanatory
and normative power of the field by combining different analytical tools
and insights. It also illustrates how eclectic theorizing can inform policy-making
and practice in world politics.
William C. Wohlforth
This chapter provides an overview of realism,
the oldest and most influential theoretical perspective in international relations.
It explains the core assumptions and arguments of realism,