This clear and concise text introduces four key theoretical frameworks that form the foundation of international relations—realism, liberalism, constructivism, and feminist theory—and uses levels of analysis as the primary unifying force to explain contemporary global politics. Cases on climate change; gender, peace, and security; migration; and the rise of China illustrate Kaufman's approach.
The third edition explains core issues in international relations, such as the interaction of nations in a globalized world; the growing threat posed by non-state actors and civil conflicts; and the need for countries to work together to counter what have been called “existential crises,” such as climate change, which threaten human lives and the planet. Significant revisions focus on discussion of democratic backsliding, the Covid-19 pandemic, cyberterrorism and cyberwar, changes to the European Union, and expanded coverage of international political economy.
Joyce P. Kaufman is professor emerita of political science and founding director of the Center for Engagement with Communities at Whittier College. She continues to teach courses on IR. Her books include A Concise History of U.S. Foreign Policy, fifth edition; Women at War, Women Building Peace: Challenging Gender Norms; Women and War: Gender Identity and Activism in Times of Conflict; Women, the State, and War: A Comparative Perspective on Citizenship and Nationalism; Providing for National Security: A Comparative Analysis; and The Future of Transatlantic Relations: Perceptions, Policy, and Practice.
1 Introduction: International Relations in a Globalized World
Why International Relations Is Important
International Relations in a Globalized World
What Does Globalization Mean for the Study of IR?
2 Theoretical Overview
What Is Theory and Why Is It Important?
Levels of Analysis: A Framework for Understanding IR
Introduction to Basic IR Theories
3 The Nation-State Level
Definition of Nation-State
History of the Nation-State
Balance of Power and Alliances
Understanding National Interest
War and Peace
Issues of Peace and Post-Conflict Reconstruction
The Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) Process
4 Within the Nation-State
The Government, i.e., the “State” part of the Nation-State
Culture and Society
The Role of the Individual
5 Nonstate Actors and the International System
The Changing Nature of the International System
Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs)
Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs)
The Concept of “Civil Society”
Terrorism: A Challenge to the International System
Multinational Corporations (MNCs)
The Role of the Media
6 Pulling It All Together
Introduction to the Cases
Case 1: Environmental Protection as a Common Good
Case 2: The Movement of People in a Globalized World
Case 3: The Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda
Case 4: China: Adversary or “Frenemy”?
Lessons of the Cases: Understanding International Relations in a Globalized World
Kaufman provides a theory-informed introduction to international relations hitting all the conceptual constructs that define a mainstream approach to this field…. Historically grounded and theoretically informed, this work references important contributors to the field over the past century, laying the groundwork for deeper exploration in any given area. It is a perfect introduction to the field. Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and general readers.
Kaufman has written a very accessible, comprehensive, and updated text that students will find extremely valuable. Beginning with the question, “Why study IR?”, the book introduces readers to international relations theories and approaches (realism, liberalism, constructivism, Marxism, and feminist IR) as well as the levels of analysis framework. The theories and levels of analysis are woven throughout the subsequent chapters that address the major conceptual areas of IR: the nation-state and war/peace, factors within the state, and non-state actors. The final chapter utilizes these tools to analyze four contemporary in-depth case studies—environmental protection; migration; women, peace, and security (WPS) agenda; and China.
Kaufman delivers an excellent edition on international relations theory and practice, capturing the changing realities of international politics and demonstrating that adjustments to theory are critical to grasping them. Kaufman clearly addresses complex theoretical constructs needed to properly study and analyze international relations and highlights their relevance for understanding contemporary dilemmas. Introduction to International Relations is a welcome contribution to the current relevance and significance of international relation theories and practice.
I have been using various editions of Joyce Kaufman’s Introduction to International Relations since it first published, and I continue using this book because it remains clear, concise, current, easy to understand, and affordable. Kaufman deftly manages to combine levels of analysis, concise summaries of competing theories, box text excerpts of famous cases and classic statements, and up-to-date coverage of recent developments like global climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m confident my students are engaging with this book because I see references to it on almost every written assignment they submit. It’s hard to introduce a broad and contested field like IR in one succinct textbook, but Kaufman pulls it off admirably and provides us with a solid foundation for enthusiastically introducing our students to world politics.
10/26/22, Choice Reviews: This book was featured in a roundup of the best titles for two-year colleges.