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First Year Modules on the
BSc in International Politics

IP1001 Theories of Global Politics (1)


This module sets up the key theoretical debate, between a state-centric, power-based, Realist approach and a multi-actor, issue-based Pluralist approach to the study of International Politics. The module raises the main theoretical questions that underlie understanding and analysis of most aspects of International Politics and is sufficient on its own as an introduction to International Politics, for those taking joint honours degrees. It is supplemented by IP1002 Theories of Global Politics (2), for those taking single honours.

Educational Aims

The lectures and classes will present a broad menu of information and concepts for understanding the nature of global political systems. The two competing theoretical approaches to the study of global politics -- Realism, focusing on states competing for power, and a Pluralist approach, focusing on a diverse range of actors mobilising support on issues, will each be introduced. The assumptions on which they are based will be compared and contrasted. As a result, students will gain the ability to analyse contemporary issues, including economic and social issues, in global politics.

Learning Outcomes: Subject knowledge and understanding

On successful completion of this module, a student will be expected to be able to

Indicative Content

The module starts by examining the nature of theorising, as a process of simplifying our understanding of the world. The diversity of governments, intergovernmental organisations, non-governmental organisations and transnational corporations are outlined. Realists are portrayed as simplifying this complexity, by concentrating on states pursuing power. Pluralists concentrate on political actors mobilising support in contention over issues. The two theoretical approaches are compared and contrasted through their differing interpretations of the actors and the contention over global issues.

Learning and teaching methods

Acquisition of knowledge and understanding is promoted through a combination of lectures and interactive classes. Students are encouraged to undertake extensive reading and independent study in order to understand the topics covered in lectures and classes and to broaden and deepen their knowledge of the subject.

Students also receive feedback on their coursework to encourage them to reflect on what they have produced.


Each students will produce one essay of up to 2,000 words, give a class presentation and answer two questions in an unseen examination. In order to pass the module, the student must gain an average mark of at least 40%. The module average is calculated from the exam mark weighted at 70% and the coursework weighted at 30%.

For degree programmes where this is a compulsory module, compensation is not permitted for failure. If the Assessment Board requires a resit, each component for which a mark of less than 40% has been achieved will be resat or a specific assessment activity will be required.

Indicative Reading list


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Centre for International Politics, School of Social Science, City University, Northampton Square, London EC1V 0HB.
Page maintained by Peter Willetts

Page produced on 8 August 2005
Updated on 8 August 2005