82786 - Crash Course in International Politics

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

The Course introduces to the main theories of International Relations as well as to key contemporary approaches in the discipline. Ongoing relevant policies and challenges are also critically examined and related to the theoretical tool-kit provided. Students are expected to get acquainted with the main features of mainstream and more recent approaches as well as to be able to identify their utility (or lack thereof) in ongoing issues and policies.

Course contents

The course is specifically designed for students who are majoring in "International Poltics and Markets" and are taking "Politics of the World Economy" the next semester. The course will break down the main theories in IR, and link those theories to the main scholarly traditions in international political economy; it will also give a quick introduction to game theory and how it applies to the study of international affairs. 

 

Our experience suggests that most students who are attending "Politics of the World Economy" lack basic knowledge of IR and game theory; hence, they are strongly encouraged to take this introductory course. Note, however, that the course is open to anyone having an interest in international affairs, theories of international relations, and the interplay between economics and political affairs at the international level.

 

I. ANTECEDENTS OF REALIST THOUGHT

Thucydides

Kautilya

Machiavelli

Hobbes

 

II. CLASSICAL REALISM

I Great Debate

Carr

Kennan

Morgenthau

Security Dilemma (Herz; Butterfield)

Aron

 

III. GAME THEORY FOR DUMMIES

Game classifications

Game form

Information set

Nash Equilibrium

Pareto efficiency

Prisoner's Dilemma

Grim strategy

Tit for tat strategy

Chicken game

 

IV. NEOREALISM

Waltz

Defensive Realism

  • Balance-of-threat theory (Walt)
  • Offense/defense balance (Jervis)
  • Deterrence and the spiral model (Jervis)
  • Signaling intentions (Kydd)

Offensive Realism (Mearsheimer)

Neoclassical Realism (Schweller)

 

V. POWER PREPONDERANCE THEORIES 

Power Transition Theory (Organski)

Status Inconsistency Theory (Galtung)

Long Cycle Theory (Modelski)

Hegemonic Stability Theory (Gilpin)

Theory of Hegemonic War (Gilpin)

 

VI. LIBERAL THEORIES (I)

Economic Interdependence (Keohane and Nye)

Neoliberal Institutionalism (Keohane)

Neo-Neo Debate

 

VII LIBERAL THEORIES (II)

Democratic Peace Theory (Babst; Doyle; Russett and O'Neal)

Critiques to the Democratic Peace Theory

  • Spurious correlation
  • Other criticisms

 

VIII. ENGLISH SCHOOL AND CONSTRUCTIVISM

II Great Debate

Bull

III Great Debate (or IV-V, depending how you see things)

Wendt

Epistemic communities (Haas)

Lyfe cycle of norms (Finnemore and Sikkink)

Transnational Advocacy Networks (Keck e Sikkink)

 

IX. CLASSICAL THEORIES OF IPE

Mercantilism/Liberalism/Marxism

Infant industry argument

Theories of imperialism

Dependency theory

Influence effect/supply effect (Hirschman)

Raw materials policy (Krasner)

Trade openness and corporatism (Katzenstein)

Embedded Liberalism (Ruggie)

 

X. RATIONALIST EXPLANATIONS FOR WAR (in a rather simplified version, and provided there is enough time left)

Teaching methods

Conventional lectures. 

Assessment methods

Because the course is meant to give students a background useful for attending other, more advanced classes, there is no examination at the end of the course.


Teaching tools

Power-point presentations.

Office hours

See the website of Davide Fiammenghi