You are here

Delays in shipping: Due to current delays in our warehouse shipping services, please expect longer than usual delivery times for any print book orders/inspection copy requests. If you are a student requiring instant access to a book title, please consider ordering a digital copy via an alternative online retailer.

If you need further assistance please visit our Contact us page for further information. Thank you for your patience and we apologise for the inconvenience.

Key Concepts in International Relations

Key Concepts in International Relations

April 2011 | 280 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

International relations is a vibrant field of significant growth and change. This book guides students through the complexities of the major theories of international relations and the debates that surround them, the core theoretical concepts, and the key contemporary issues. Introduced by an overview of the discipline's development and general structure, the more than 40 entries are broken down as follows:

Parts one and two introduce the key theories and each chapter includes:

  • A broad overview
  • A discussion of methodologies
  • A review of empirical applications
  • A guide to further reading and useful websites

Part three discusses the major concepts and for each concept provides:

  • An introduction to the core questions
  • An overview of the definitions and theoretical perspectives
  • A review of empirical problems
  • Links to other entries, further reading and useful websites

Clear and highly readable, Key Concepts in International Relations is an essential guide for students on politics and international relations courses.

Balance of Power
Conflict Resolution
Democratic Peace
(International) Development
Theory Concept
Feminism and Gender

Foreign Policy Analysis
Game Theory
Global Governance
Human Rights
Humanitarian Intervention
Ideas and Norms
International Ethics
International Law
International Regimes
International Society
Levels of Analysis
Theory Concept
Liberalism and Neo-Liberalism

Theory Concept
Marxism and Critical Theory

Nationalism and Ethnicity
Peace and War
Theory Concept
Postmodernism and Post-Structuralism

Theory Concept
Realism and Neo-Realism

Regional Integration
Security Community
Security Dilemma
Theory Concept
Social Constructivism

Territoriality and Borders

This excellent reference book will be the first point of call for students wishing to quickly make sense of the key texts of the discipline; without shying away from controversy the authors illuminate and clarify the central conceptual debates of International Relations

Christopher May
Professor of Political Economy, Lancaster University

'Basic conceptual understanding is a precondition for thinking theory thoroughly. The authors of this book have accomplished laudably in their endeavour of providing an easy to access guide, offering an overview of the rich variety of meanings of key concepts in International Relations' -
Professor Knud Erik Jørgensen
Aarhus University

It is useful for students to use it as a handbook of key concepts in IR. Concepts are very well defined with their theoretical background. I already adopted it in February 2018, and I have been using it since then. I forgot to send a feedback, and hence, I had to choose January 2020 as the decision date.

Dr Gonenc Uysal
Department of International Relations, Osmaniye Korkut Ata University
January 14, 2020

The book is well written and I recommend it for all students who want to be familiar with IR. Although it is titled Key Concepts, it is actually more than concepts and more like a text book in a dictionary form. It includes sections on theory, methodology and empirical issues for each entry and is therefore quite comprehensive. I also found it quite upto date incorporating new concepts and controversies of discussion.

Dr Faruk Yalvac
Dept of International Relations, Middle East Technical University
November 17, 2014

This is a very useful reference book - the kind students should always have at hand, to refer to when in doubt about a particular concept or theoretical approach in International Relations. Each chapter is written in a very clear and pedagogic style, while avoiding oversimplifications, and follows the same, very good structure, starting with core questions, and moving on to definitions/overview/background, theoretical perspectives, empirical problems/criticisms, core readings and useful websites. With 41 concepts included, it manages to cover a wide range of approaches and issues central to the study of International Relations (although Orientalism is the big absent). My one criticism is with regards to the reading suggestions - I think there could be a little more, including works which apply the theoretical approach or concept under study (this is always useful when trying to explain to students how they can use theoretical approaches and concepts in their own work). Websites, on the other hand, would maybe be better listed on a SAGE webpage, which could be updated and expanded on a regular basis.

Dr Marie Gibert
School of Social Sciences, Nottingham Trent University
April 8, 2014

This is an excellent resource to get a first grasp of an issue. It seems to be appropriate for advanced as well as for new students of IR and I'm looking forward to using it.

Dr Harry Bauer
Dept of Political Science, University College London
January 10, 2014

While the book provides a good dictionary of concepts, the treatment of each one was a bit too cursory for my purposes.

Professor Gary Wren
Interdisciplinary Studies Field Major, University of California - Berkeley
January 31, 2013

Since the course focuses on a very specific and narrow topic, the notion of power in IR, this book will be a useful integration for B.A. students who wish to get fast information on some other concept in IR, for example balance of power or hegemony. The book provides excellent overviews on key concepts and suitable essential reading lists as well as links to relevant websites.

Dr Sandra Destradi
(and University of Göttingen), GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies
September 14, 2012

Good general introduction to key concepts in IR. Good background reading for students approaching IR for the first time.

Well structured (core question, definition, theoretical perspective, etc.).

Lacks of concrete examples illustrating the commented concepts.

Some other concepts may be touched upon (e.g. international organisations, supranationalism, asymetry, etc.)

Mr Michaël Maira
Department of Political Sciences, FUSL: Saint Louis University Faculties
July 28, 2011

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

For instructors

Select a Purchasing Option

ISBN: 9781412928489
ISBN: 9781412928472

SAGE Knowledge is the premier social sciences platform for SAGE and CQ Press book, reference and video content.

The platform allows researchers to cross-search and seamlessly access a wide breadth of must-have SAGE book and reference content from one source.