5th Edition

International Relations Theory A Critical Introduction

By Cynthia Weber Copyright 2021
    336 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    336 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The fifth edition of this innovative textbook introduces students to the main theories in International Relations. It explains and analyzes each theory, allowing students to understand and critically engage with the myths and assumptions behind them. Each theory is illustrated using the example of a popular film.
    Key features of this textbook include:

    • Discussion of all the main theories: realism and neorealism, idealism and neoidealism, liberalism, constructivism, postmodernism, gender, globalization, neo-Marxism, modernization and development theory, environmentalism, anarchism, and queer theory.
    • A new chapter focused on global LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans) theory and queer theory, Hillary Clinton’s policy myth that "gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights," and the film Love is Strange.
    • Innovative use of narrative from films that students will be familiar with: Lord of the Flies, Independence Day, Wag the Dog, Fatal Attraction, The Truman Show, East Is East, Memento, WALL-E, The Hunger Games, and Love is Strange.
    • An accessible and exciting writing style, boxed key concepts, and guides for further reading.
    • A comprehensive Companion Website featuring a complete set of lectures for every major theory and film covered in the textbook, additional workshop and seminar exercises, slides to accompany each lecture, and an extensive bank of multiple-choice, short-answer, and essay questions and answers for every chapter.

    This breakthrough textbook has been designed to unravel the complexities of international relations theory in a way that gives students a clearer idea of how the theories work, and of the myths associated with them.

    1 Introduction: culture, ideology, and the myth function in IR theory

    2 Realism: is international anarchy the permissive cause of war?

    3 Idealism: is there an international society?

    4 Constructivism: is anarchy what states make of it?

    5 Gender: is gender a variable?

    6 Globalization: are we at the end of history?

    7 NeoMarxism: is Empire the new world order?

    8 Modernization and development theory: is there a clash of civilizations?

    9 Environmentalism: is human-made climate change an inconvenient truth?

    10 Anarchism: are we the 99 percent?

    11 Global LGBT Studies: Are gay rights human rights, and are human rights gay rights?

    12 Conclusion: what does it all mean?


    Cynthia Weber is a Professor of International Relations at the University of Sussex. UK. She is the author of several books and numerous articles in the field of International Relations.

    "Cindy Weber’s International Relations Theory has always been both an impressive pedagogical tool and forward-thinking theoretically. Teaching it, I have found that the movie examples both make IR accessible to students and encourage them to engage; reading it, I have always learned something new. The new edition is no exception – it is groundbreaking theoretically, without peer pedagogically, engagingly written, and intellectually creative. I enthusiastically recommend its widespread use." – Laura Sjoberg, Royal Holloway University of London, UK and University of Florida, USA.

    "In this classic text, now in its fifth edition, Cynthia Weber’s approach to International Relations (IR) theory as and through myth, and her pairing of IR theories’ myths with film, continues to be as unique as it is important for the critical study of IR. The inclusion of a chapter on global LGBT theory and queer theory in this latest edition is a key addition that further highlights the originality of the text, but also speaks to its critical conceptual and political currency. No other IR textbook comes as close as International Relations Theory: A Critical Introduction (5th edition) in enabling students to think critically about their world." - Linea Cutter and François Debrix, Virginia Tech, USA.

    "Cynthia Weber’s International Relations Theory is an imaginative and innovative disquisition on the narratives and myths that have structured the discipline of International Relations and its theoretical developments. With each chapter, Weber disrupts conventional ‘truths’ about the discipline and inspires us to see, understand and grapple with the complexities of international politics in novel and creative ways. An essential resource for students and scholars of international relations alike." – Suwita Hani Randhawa, University of the West of England, UK

    "Weber’s textbook leads the field in delivering the cutting edge content and culturally relevant teaching materials that today’s students demand. Using popular films to illustrate IR theories is both appealing to students and pedagogically effective. Contributing both sophisticated and accessible analyses, this updated edition excels with a chapter on global queer theory and a companion website that is as good as it gets. What’s not to love?!" - V Spike Peterson, Professor of International Relations, University of Arizona, USA.