Introduction to International Political Thought

The study of politics is shaped by concepts and methods that have developed over the last three centuries.

The study of political theory is concerned with the meaning and justification of those concepts and their continuing relevance to the nature of modern politics.

  • Introduce students to major thinkers in Political Theory: Thucydides; Saint Augustine; Niccolò Machiavelli; Thomas Hobbes; Jean-Jacques Rousseau; Carl von Clausewitz; Vladimir Lenin; Mao Zedong; Carl Achmitt; and John Raws.
  • Consider how central ideas of political philosophy might be applied to international politics.
  • Introduce students to the tension between liberal cosmopolitan and realist visions of of world order.
  • Explore perennial issues of violence; war; and revolution that continue to haunt global politics.

If you complete the course successfully, you should be able to:

  • Identify and criticise the merits of different approaches to international political theory
  • Explain different ways in which order might be achieved in the international realm
  • Demonstrate an understanding of some of the great theorists of international political thought
  • Evaluate the political challenges posed by changes in the way war is conducted
  • Apply the perspectives on International Political Theory to contemporary problems such as global terrorism and international intervention
  • Kelly, P. Conflict, War and International Relations: An Introduction to International Political Theory (LSE Press, 2022) [ISBN: 978-1-909890-74-9]
  • Boucher, D. and Paul Kelly (eds) Political Thinkers: From Socrates to the Present. (Oxford University Press, 2017) 3rd edition. [ISBN 9780198708926]

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