1st Edition

Critical Theorists and International Relations

Edited By Jenny Edkins, Nick Vaughan-Williams Copyright 2009
    424 Pages
    by Routledge

    420 Pages
    by Routledge

    A wide range of critical theorists is used in the study of international politics, and until now there has been no text that gives concise and accessible introductions to these figures. Critical Theorists and International Relations provides a wide-ranging introduction to thirty-two important theorists whose work has been influential in thinking about global politics.

    Each chapter is written by an expert with a detailed knowledge of the theorist concerned, representing a range of approaches under the rubric ‘critical’, including Marxism and post-Marxism, the Frankfurt School, hermeneutics, phenomenology, postcolonialism, feminism, queer theory, poststructuralism, pragmatism, scientific realism, deconstruction and psychoanalysis.

    Key features of each chapter include:

    • a clear and concise biography of the relevant thinker
    • an introduction to their key writings and ideas
    • a summary of the ways in which these ideas have influenced and are being used in international relations scholarship
    • a list of suggestions for further reading


    Written in engaging and accessible prose, Critical Theorists and International Relations is a unique and invaluable resource for undergraduates, postgraduates and scholars of international relations.

    Introduction Jenny Edkins and Nick Vaughan-Williams  1. Theodor Adorno Columba Peoples  2. Giorgio Agamben Nick Vaughan-Williams  3. Hannah Arendt Patricia Owens  4. Alain Badiou Claudia Aradau  5. Jean Baudrillard François Debrix  6. Simone de Beauvoir Kimberly Hutchings  7. Walter Benjamin Angharad Closs Stephens  8. Roy Bhaskar Milja Kurki  9. Pierre Bourdieu Peter Jackson  10. Judith Butler Cristina Masters  11. Gilles Deleuze Robin Durie  12. Jacques Derrida Maja Zehfuss  13. Franz Fanon Himadeep Muppidi 14. Michel Foucault Andrew Neal  15. Sigmund Freud Vanessa Pupavac  16. Antonio Gramsci Mark Rupert  17. Jürgen Habermas Neta Crawford  18. G. W. F. Hegel Ritu Vij  19. Martin Heidegger Louiza Odysseos  20. Immanuel Kant Kimberly Hutchings  21. Julia Kristeva Vivienne Jabri  22. Emmanuel Levinas Elizabeth Dauphinee  23. Karl Marx Milja Kurki  24. Jean-Luc Nancy Martin Coward  25. Friedrich Nietzsche Robin Durie  26. Jacques Rancière Rens van Munster  27. Richard Rorty James Brassett  28. Edward Said Latha Varadarajan  29. Carl Schmitt Louiza Odysseos and Fabio Petito  30. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak Catarina Kinnvall  31. Paul Virilo James Der Derian  32. Slavoj Žižek Diane Rubenstein


    Jenny Edkins is Professor of International Politics at Aberystwyth University. Her books include Global Politics: A New Introduction, with Maja Zehfuss (Routledge, 2008)

    Nick Vaughan-Williams is Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Exeter. He is co-editor of Terrorism and the Politics of Response (Routledge 2008).

    Edkins and Vaughan-Williams have produced a very helpful collection of introductions to the thinking of a wide variety of writers who have been influential in the critical analysis of international relations. This comprehensive set of accessible introductions helps the reader understand the core contributions of writers who have been seminal in the development of a critical account of international relations.

    Professor Steve Smith
    Vice-Chancellor, University of Exeter


    "As one who usually resists teaching IR courses, I welcome Jenny Edkins' and Nick Vaughan-Williams' Critical Theorists and International Relations. I can finally see myself as an occasional IR instructor in a book that provides the  critical perspectives lacking in most IR texts, is organized to facilitate pedagogy, and is consistently excellent, chapter by chapter."
    --Michael J. Shapiro, University of Hawai'i


    "Global politics has provided an important context of critical theory. Yet its growing complexity has also called attention to the ongoing task of articulating and reflecting upon the roles of identity, power, order, and resistance in International Relations.Critical Theorists and International Relations is a splendid and much-needed volume that addresses and fills, in a truly original manner, this important niche. Providing comprehensive and authoritative analyses of the key critical theorists, this edited volume will continue to remind us of the ever-present need to wrestle harder with the contextual and overlapping meanings of critical theory in International Relations."

    Steven C. Roach, Editor of Critical Theory and International Relations: A Reader, University of South Florida


    A deceptively simple idea outstandingly executed. This is a collection of diverse scholarship exploring the wide parameters of critical international theory. No stodgy hagiography, the contributors offer an accessible but critical collection of (often-personal) reflections on some of the most important thinkers in IR. Students of international politics from a wide range of methodological persuasions will find this book an invaluable starting point.

    Stuart Shields, University of Manchester