Analysing international relations: Theories, choices and pictures

Publikation: Bidrag til bog/antologi/rapportBidrag til bog/antologiUndervisning

Presented with conflicting evidence and interpretations, how do we ever
come to valid conclusions about complex questions of continuity and
change in global politics? In any analytical task you need to consider a number of things and this final chapter will take you through some of them including the different purposes of theory, how theory can be used to shape your analytical
strategy and some of the pitfalls you need to be aware of. Throughout I
refer to theories and concepts from across the module that you will be
fairly familiar with by now. But I will also make some new distinctions
to give a better understanding of what theories are, a clearer sense of
what they can be used for, and a greater awareness of their differences,
strengths and limitations. The chapter proceeds as follows:
In Section 1 I look at what theories are and how they work – either
by simplifying reality or complicating matters by depicting reality in
new ways. I then show how different theories rely on different
‘pictures’ of what makes up the international system.
Section 2 shows how theories differ in terms of their scope, their
aims and their purposes.
Section 3 explores some of the choices to be made when using
theories to ‘explain’ international relations and distinguishes between
different kinds of explanation.
In Section 4 I look at how different theories have been grouped –
first according to their underlying views of what is valid knowledge,
and second in terms of different accounts of how history works.
TitelInternational Relations : Continuity and Change in Global Politics
StatusUdgivet - 2014

ID: 173093751