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About this book

The fourth edition of this well-established and popular introductory textbook has been updated to cover recent developments in the field of International Relations and world events, whilst still navigating the complexities of the discipline for new students. Brown and Ainley provide systematic coverage of the classical concerns of International Relations theory - power, national interest, foreign policy and war - alongside analysis of the impact of globalization on security, governance and the world economy.

The authors actively avoid using a singular theoretical lens to conduct their survey, instead evaluating and using many throughout this book to further illustrate the nuances of the discipline. This is all while maintaining the focus on the discipline’s focus on real world events, with case studies ranging from the recent rise of China and Russia to the global economic downturn, to teach students how the discipline can be applied to understanding the central and difficult questions that the world faces today.

Clear and accessible, but also critical and penetrating, this book is an essential text for undergraduate International Relations students today.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction: Defining International Relations

Abstract
This book is an introduction to the discipline of International Relations; ‘International Relations’ (with initial capitals — here frequently shortened to IR) is the study of ‘international relations’ (lower case) the use of upper and lower case in this way has become conventional and will be employed throughout this book. But what are ‘international relations’? A survey of the field suggests that a number of different definitions are employed. For some, international relations means the diplomatic-strategic relations of states and the characteristic focus of IR is on issues of war and peace, conflict and cooperation. Others see international relations as being about cross-border transactions of all kinds, political, economic and social, and IR is as likely to study trade negotiations or the operation of non-state institutions such as Amnesty International as it is conventional peace talks or the workings of the United Nations (UN). Again, and with increasing frequency in the twenty-first century, some focus on globalization — studying, for example, world communication, transport and financial systems, global business corporations and the putative emergence of a global society. These conceptions obviously bear some family resemblances, but nevertheless, each has quite distinct features. Which definition we adopt will have real consequences for the rest of our study, and thus will be more than simply a matter of convenience.
Chris Brown, Kirsten Ainley

Chapter 3. International Relations Theory Today

Abstract
Just as the post-war synthesis was dominated by Morgenthau’s 1948 text, so contemporary IR is fixated on Kenneth Waltz’s 1979 volume, Theory of International Politics. Not only was realism revitalized by this book, but anti-realists have also felt obliged to respond to its arguments. In the 1960s, it was said (by Kenneth Thompson) that IR theory constituted a debate between Morgenthau and his critics; in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s the name of Waltz should be substituted for that of Morgenthau (although, in both cases, it is what the author is believed to have written rather than what was actually on the page that is crucial).
Chris Brown, Kirsten Ainley

Chapter 5. Power and Security

Abstract
From a foreign-policy perspective, states attempt to change their environment in accordance with aims and objectives they have set for themselves. From a structural perspective, states attempt to adapt to their environment, making the best of the cards the system has dealt them. Either way, states are agents; they act in the world. How? What is the nature of diplomacy or ‘statecraft’ — a slightly old-world term that has recently been given a new lease of life? The best discussion of this topic is that of David Baldwin, who produces a four-way taxonomy of the techniques of statecraft that provides a useful starting-point for this discussion. He defines propaganda as ‘influence attempts relying primarily on the deliberate manipulation of verbal symbols’; diplomacy refers to ‘influence attempts relying primarily on negotiation’; economic statecraft covers ‘influence attempts relying on resources which have a reasonable semblance of a market price in terms of money’; and military statecraft refers to ‘influence attempts relying primarily on violence, weapons, or force’ (Baldwin 1985: 13). The rest of this chapter examines the questions raised (or in some cases, avoided) by his classification.
Chris Brown, Kirsten Ainley

Chapter 8. The Global Economy

Abstract
One of the defining characteristics of state-centric international relations has been to draw a clear distinction between ‘domestic’ and ‘international’ politics. When the volume of transactions that crossed state boundaries grew ever larger in the 1960s and 1970s, a subsidiary distinction became common, that between ‘high politics’ — the traditional interstate agenda of war and peace — and ‘low politics’ — the projection of essentially domestic concerns on to the international agenda. The assumption of realist, especially neorealist, thinking was that whatever ‘global governance’ might emerge it would be in this latter sphere rather than the former, and the essentially anarchic nature of ‘high’ politics would remain unchanged. In one sense, this assumption has turned out to be accurate. As established in Chapter 7, attempts to introduce collective management of security problems have not been markedly successful, and the great increase in the number of international institutions has come about because of other kinds of needs, other kinds of problems. Where, however, the realist position falls is at the outset, in the distinction between ‘high’ and ‘low’ politics — a distinction that collapses in the face of the ‘high political’ importance of what was once seen as the characteristically ‘low political’ activity of international economic relations. The world economy and attempts to manage and regulate it are now at the heart of international relations in a way that would have been difficult to believe a century ago and very surprising even as recently as the 1970s.
Chris Brown, Kirsten Ainley

Chapter 10. The International Politics of Identity

Abstract
The next two chapters offer a somewhat different approach to International Relations theory from the previous nine. The emphasis will remain on theory, on developing a conceptual understanding of the subject, but the context will no longer be quite so dependent on the development of the discourse itself as in the earlier chapters. From now on, the driving force will come from events in the world rather than the academy — arguably, this has always been the case with International Relations theory, but here the relationship between theory and practice is much clearer. The agendas of these two chapters are set by international politics since the 1980s and will be readily recognizable by practitioners as well as scholars, and by informed members of the public as well as students of the social sciences.
Chris Brown, Kirsten Ainley
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