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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Int.Relations Theory
Module Code LG514
School School of Law & Government
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Kenneth McDonagh
Semester 2: Kenneth McDonagh
Autumn: Kenneth McDonagh
Module TeachersKenneth McDonagh
Roman-Gabriel Olar
NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 10
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

This course introduces students to the field of international relations theory. We will examine in some detail the main theoretical approaches in international politics and analyse how they may be helpful in explaining the most relevant issues affecting global politics today. The course is divided into two sections: Part One examines the dominant perspectives in International Relations Theory from the initiation of the discipline to the present, while Part Two looks at more recent developments that offer critiques of the mainstream approaches. Throughout the course, readings, lectures, presentations, and discussion will be directed at understanding the link between theory and practice, with a view to highlighting and understanding the complexities of contemporary global politics.

Learning Outcomes

1. Identify the main international relations theories
2. Explain the differences between the various theoretical traditions in International Relations
3. Apply the theories to real world cases
4. Analyse international events using the appropriate theoretical lense
5. Combine commensurate theories in order to formulate new approaches to international events

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Online activity20For the 2020-2021 academic year, in-class activity will take place online. This will involve a combination of lecture, seminar discussion and participatory group work
Independent Study230In addition to online synchronous activity, students will be guided through independent work which wil involve watching re-recorded lecture material and responding to questions, forum activities, independent reading and research, and assignment preparation
Total Workload: 250

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Students will focus on the following topics and/or attend to the following

Introduction and Review
This section will introduce the students to the academic discipline of international relations and review the theories covered during the course

Early theories of IR: Thucydides, Hobbes & Machiavelli
This lecture and seminar will examine the intellectual antecedents to contemporary international relations theory and explore the use and misuse of historical thinkers within the discipline

The Emergence of IR as an academic discipline
This lecture examines the emergence of IR as a distinct academic discipine. Students will be introduced to the theory of liberalism

Non-Western approaches to International Relations
This section re-examines the field of International Relations from non-Western perspectives and looks the intersection of race, colonialism and power that shape the modern world.

Add women & stir? – Feminism and IR
Gender has increasingly pushed to the fore as a relevant category for understaning IR. This lecture looks at the feminist contribution and examines the future of a more gender conscious IR

Carr, Morgenthau & the Birth of Realism
This lecture introduces modern Realism as an approach to IR through examining the works of Hans Morgenthau and EH Carr

Science v Tradition: Behaviouralism v the English School
This lecture looks at the 2nd debate. This will be placed in the context of debates within the Philosophy of the Social Sciences and the implications of these debates for researchers in IR

Structure and Systems: Neo Realism and Neo-Liberalism
This lecture explores the main differences between the two main theories IR in the contemporary mainstream of the discipline

Post-positivism – Critique or Crisis?
This lecture looks at alternative approaches to IR theory that challenge positivist social science

Constructivism – A via media?
This lecture examines attempts by Constructivist scholars to build a bridge between the contemporary mainstream and the more radical approaches of Post-postivist scholars

Critical Theory
Does IR theory have duty to speak truth to power? This lecture explores this question by way of examining the contribution of the Frankfurt School and Gramsci to IR theory

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
EssayA selection of questions will be posted in Week 2. The final essay should be 3000 words in length.60%Week 12
AssignmentBook Review30%Week 9
ParticipationSubmit 3 questions on a weekly basis for class discussion based on the assigned readings10%Every Week
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Tim Dunne, Milja Kurki and Steve Smith: 2016, International Relations Theories: Discipline and Diversity,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
MIRMA in International Relations
Date of Last Revision26-SEP-07

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