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Understanding International Relations


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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Defining International Relations 2. The Development of International Relations Theory in the Twentieth Century 3. International Relations Theory Today 4. Agency, Structure and the State 5. Power and Security 6. The Balance of Power and War 7. Global Governance 8. The Global Economy 9. Globalization 10. The International Politics of Identity 11. International Relations and the Individual 12. International (Dis)Order Today?

Promotional Information

The fifth edition of this bestselling text provides a comprehensive and engaging introduction to international relations theories. With reference to diverse contemporary events, the text explores everything from foreign policy and security to global governance and the global economy. It offers a definitive guide to understanding international relations, and is suitable for undergraduate and postgraduate students of international relations at any stage of their studies.

About the Author

CHRIS BROWN is Emeritus Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science, UK. He has published extensively on International Relations Theory, international political theory, and was previously Chair of the British International Studies Association and, at LSE, Head of the Department of International Relations.


An excellent introductory book which familiarises students with International Relations theories while exploring some of the most important issues and debates in the discipline ... Overall, a brilliant, up-to-date companion for students and teachers of International Relations.
*Sophia Dingli, University of Glasgow, UK*

Combining wisdom and wit in the seemingly effortless style for which Chris Brown is known, the 5th edition of Understanding International Relations is simply the best introduction to the discipline of International Relations available.
*Toni Erskine, Australian National University, Australia*

Steeped in the discipline’s key conversations, Chris Brown sets out the academic discipline of International Relations in this lucidly written book. Its strength is that it provides an overview while also supplying historical depth and theoretical nuance to anyone wishing to grasp the subject as well as its intellectual origins.
*Olaf Corry, University of Copenhagen, Denmark*

Chris Brown's 5th edition is a welcome reworking of a classic text, which artfully fuses his recognition for the endurance of traditional IR approaches with astute re-examinations of their relevance in explaining new global developments. The result is a book that does exactly what it promises, namely, to increase our understanding of international relations, today, yesterday and tomorrow.
*Garrett Wallace Brown, University of Leeds, UK*

This sophisticated yet accessible text offers a theory-based account of how international relations work at the individual, group, state, and global levels. This fifth edition is one of the best volumes in the discipline for both students and those looking for a refresher.
*Lasha Tchantouridzé, Norwich University, USA*

A concise and accessible overview of IR theory suitable for both graduate and undergraduate levels. The author places theory in context enabling students to understand from where the great debates in IR emerged and how they have developed over time. Of particular value are the further reading sections making this book an essential teaching text and a useful reference for students throughout their studies.
*Vanessa Newby, Leiden University, the Netherlands*

This rich book will provide any student with the means to grasp the full array of international relations theories, and also to understand why theorising matters and how it helps us make sense of the complex world we live in. Chris Brown writes with engaging ease and insightful depth about classic and evolving theories of IR and relies on them to tease out the key concepts of the discipline – anarchy, war, peace, global governance.
*Gillian Wylie, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland*

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