Key Concepts in International Relations
- Thomas Diez - University of Tuebingen
- Ingvild Bode - University of Tuebingen, Germany
- Aleksandra Fernandes da Costa - University of Exeter, UK
SAGE Key Concepts series
International Relations is a vibrant field of significant growth and change. This book guides students through the complexities of over 40 central concepts and core theories, relating them at all times to contemporary issues and debates.
Each concept is divided into five sections to allow rapid familiarization with the topic and provide signposts for further exploration:
- Core questions to address
- Theoretical perspectives
- Empirical problems
- Core reading and useful websites
In addition the major theories are covered by six-part entries that give a 360 degree view of the strengths, weaknesses, applications and methodologies of each one:
- An introduction to the core questions
- Overview and background
- Empirical application
- Central criticism
- Core reading and useful websites
Clear and highly readable, Key Concepts in International Relations is an essential guide for students on politics and international relations courses.
It is useful for students to use it as a handbook of key concepts in IR. Concepts are very well defined with their theoretical background. I already adopted it in February 2018, and I have been using it since then. I forgot to send a feedback, and hence, I had to choose January 2020 as the decision date.
The book is well written and I recommend it for all students who want to be familiar with IR. Although it is titled Key Concepts, it is actually more than concepts and more like a text book in a dictionary form. It includes sections on theory, methodology and empirical issues for each entry and is therefore quite comprehensive. I also found it quite upto date incorporating new concepts and controversies of discussion.
This is a very useful reference book - the kind students should always have at hand, to refer to when in doubt about a particular concept or theoretical approach in International Relations. Each chapter is written in a very clear and pedagogic style, while avoiding oversimplifications, and follows the same, very good structure, starting with core questions, and moving on to definitions/overview/background, theoretical perspectives, empirical problems/criticisms, core readings and useful websites. With 41 concepts included, it manages to cover a wide range of approaches and issues central to the study of International Relations (although Orientalism is the big absent). My one criticism is with regards to the reading suggestions - I think there could be a little more, including works which apply the theoretical approach or concept under study (this is always useful when trying to explain to students how they can use theoretical approaches and concepts in their own work). Websites, on the other hand, would maybe be better listed on a SAGE webpage, which could be updated and expanded on a regular basis.
This is an excellent resource to get a first grasp of an issue. It seems to be appropriate for advanced as well as for new students of IR and I'm looking forward to using it.
While the book provides a good dictionary of concepts, the treatment of each one was a bit too cursory for my purposes.
Since the course focuses on a very specific and narrow topic, the notion of power in IR, this book will be a useful integration for B.A. students who wish to get fast information on some other concept in IR, for example balance of power or hegemony. The book provides excellent overviews on key concepts and suitable essential reading lists as well as links to relevant websites.
Good general introduction to key concepts in IR. Good background reading for students approaching IR for the first time.
Well structured (core question, definition, theoretical perspective, etc.).
Lacks of concrete examples illustrating the commented concepts.
Some other concepts may be touched upon (e.g. international organisations, supranationalism, asymetry, etc.)