Introducing International Relations: Concepts, Theories, and Practices

Book Author: Farhan Hanif Siddiqi, Muhammad Nadeem Mirza
Published by Oxford University Press, Karachi, 2023, Pp 458.

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.

(Benjamin Franklin)

Introducing International Relations: Concepts, Theories, and Practices, is an in-depth introduction to the study of international relations. It provides an overview of the history and development of the field, as well as a comprehensive survey of the major theories, concepts, and issues that inform contemporary international relations. It personifies the essence of Benjamin Franklin’s idea of writing something that is worth reading as both the Author have remarkably shaped a holistic approach to the subject, examining the political, economic, cultural, and environmental aspects of international relations. By providing an essential yet easy understanding of the field of international relations the book emphasizes the importance of bringing together theoretical foundations with substantive matters existing all around us in everyday world politics and focuses on the practical side of the theory application in International Relations.

It covers all the main concepts, theories, and practices that students need to understand the agenda of the global setting.

The book provides a comprehensive overview of the discipline, from the basics of international relations theory and history to the current debates and contemporary issues by thoroughly explaining various approaches to IR.

such as liberal Internationalism, Realism, the English School of thought, Complex interdependence, Structural Realism, Marxism, Constructivism, Critical Theory, and Postmodernism. The book explains each of these theories in detail, providing an extensive overview of the theoretical foundations of each approach.

This book is divided into sixteen chapters, including an introductory chapter dealing with imagination, definition, and evolution of the discipline of International relations. It provides a working definition of International Relations by expounding essential concepts such as state, nation, government, and sovereignty. Additionally, the book covers various topics related to international relations, such as Foreign Policy, Strategic Studies and War, Dimensions, and Balance of Power, Arms Control, Disarmament Nuclear Non-Proliferation, Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies, International Law, International Political Economy, Environment, Feminism and Gender, Identity Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict by dedicating immense focus to each area thoroughly. Whereas, each chapter concludes with important key points as well as raises questions for the reader to ponder over and indulge in further inquiry. Similarly, each topic provides a thought-provoking ‘student thinking exercise’ as well.

The book concludes by drawing a comparison between International Relations Today and Tomorrow in its last chapter. The debate focuses on the fact that the states are not merely material and institutional entities but need to be seen at an ideational level, where they are also constitutive of ideas and identity. It makes it clear that International relations assert a rich theoretical and methodological framework that is diverse and interdisciplinary in nature. It expounds on both contemporary theoretical debates with respect to Cultural Theory, Quantum Physics, Post International Politics, and non-Western IR theory as well as contemporary empirical developments including the rise of China, Brexit Arab Spring, and emerging geo-political and geostrategic dynamics in South Asia.

One of the most interesting and striking features of the book is the inclusion of a chapter solely devoted to explaining how to conduct research in International Relations by indulging in methodological debate Making it easier for the research student to grasp the theoretical debate as well as understand how to apply the same while drawing their research design. It focuses on the Philosophical debate in International Relations with regard to ontology and epistemology and draws their practical link with the methodology. Further, it explores the practical issues in International Research research such as exploring research topics, formulating good research questions and testable hypotheses, conceptualizing variables, methods to understand and measure those variables and finally adopting a suitable research design in order to collect and analyze data for research.

The book is very well-structured and easy to follow, which makes it suitable for a wide range of readers. The book is also thoroughly researched, coving a wide range of topics, which is a great asset for students and scholars alike.

Overall, both authors have done an admirable job of providing a comprehensive introduction to the field of international relations and clear and concise explanations of key concepts and issues. Additionally, the writing style is accessible and engaging, making it easy for readers to understand and retain the material

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