International Relations Theory : A Critical Introduction book cover
4th Edition

International Relations Theory
A Critical Introduction

ISBN 9780415713061
Published December 12, 2013 by Routledge
320 Pages 56 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The fourth 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 neo-realism, idealism and neo-idealism, liberalism, constructivism, postmodernism, gender, globalization, environmentalism, anarchism
  • A new chapter on anarchism, debt and the Occupy Movement including use of the film, The Hunger Games
  • New chapter brings the textbook up to date with reflections on the 2008 Global Financial Crisis and reactions to it by focusing on the myth this crisis generated, ‘We are the 99%’
  • Innovative use of narratives 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 and The Hunger Games
  • Accessible and exciting writing style which is well-illustrated with film stills in each chapter, boxed key concepts and guides to further reading.

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.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. Realism 3. Idealism 4. Constructivism 5. Gender 6. Globalization 7. (Neo) Marxism 8. Modernization and Development Theory 9. Environmentalism 10. Anarchism 11. Conclusion

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


Cindy Weber’s International Relations Theory is an extraordinarily au courant text in terms of both its theoretical attunement and its attention to genre. While many IR texts fail to heed the pedagogical value of incorporating innovations in visual technologies and culture, Weber’s does so with nuanced presentations and interpretations, which she articulates skillfully with the text’s theoretical treatments. It is an outstanding resource for courses in international relations/studies.

Michael J. Shapiro, University of Hawai’i, Manoa, USA.

Cynthia Weber's new edition is good news for all of us - teachers and students. She manages here to enliven IR theories by making us all think afresh about the stories we tell ourselves and each other about international politics, and to take a closer look at the lessons we imagine our favorite stories yield. 

Cynthia Enloe, author of Seriously! Investigating Crashes and Crises as If Women Mattered.