Theories of international relations

Theories of international relations
2300 word essay

Please choose ONE essay from the list below:
1. How, if at all, can the English School help us to understand the relationship between ‘the
West’ and ‘the rest’? Explain your answer with reference to at least one key concept used by
English School theorists.
2. Are Critical IR Theorists right to identify emancipation as a key goal of IR theory? Do they
succeed in explaining how it might be achieved? Answer with reference to at least one
Critical IR Theorist.
3. Do Liberal IR theorists successfully explain why states often engage in cooperation rather
than conflict?
4. ‘Classical Realists offer the most convincing available account of the relationship between
morality and politics.’ Do you agree? Answer with reference to at least one twentieth
century realist thinker.
5. Has the critique of Positivism in IR been a source of progress or an unnecessary distraction
for the discipline? Answer with reference to at least two theories examined on the module.
6. ‘Capitalism rather than anarchy is the defining feature of the international system.’ Do you
7. Nicholas Onuf claims that we live in a ‘world of our making’. Explain and assess the
implications of this Constructivist claim for IR theory.
8. Does the Poststructuralist critique of ‘foundationalism’ help or hinder the formulation of
international theory?
9. Cynthia Enloe suggests that ‘gender makes the world go round’. What does she mean? Do
you agree?

Should follow these guidelines

Has the question been answered?
• Has the student demonstrated knowledge and understanding of the relevant IR theories?
• Has the student reflected on the strengths and weaknesses of the relevant theories?
• Has the student presented a coherent argument to support their position?
• Has the student shown evidence of extended reading and research?
• Is the essay clearly structured and logically sequenced, and is the writing understandable and
• Are all borrowed quotations, ideas, and evidence properly referenced?
A First class (70%+) is awarded to work which:
• addresses all the requirements of the question given, within the stated word limits
• presents and clear and confident answer to the question
• shows ample evidence of having read widely and understood key texts
• provides a full and accurate account of the relevant arguments and concepts
• demonstrates the ability to identify problems, discuss issues, and weigh up criticisms
• follows a clear and logically sequenced structure and uses clear, correct English
• is fully and accurately referenced and includes a full bibliography

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