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International Relations Theory

International relations theory (IR) helps us to make sense of the chaos of international interactions. Students are introduced to the paradigmatic lenses—including different branches of realism, liberalism, constructivism, and Marxism—that can help provide us with the ability to understand and connect disparate historical and contemporary events in a coherent framework. Without theory, our understanding of the world is ad hoc and episodic, preventing deeper understandings of the patterns of behavior that shape international politics.

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International Security

International security (IS) is one of the core subfields in the study of international politics. Its principal focus is on organized politically driven violence, interstate warfare, as well as related issues like arms control, deterrence, coercive diplomacy, evolution of technology and military strategy, civil-military relations, alliance politics. All of these topics have been at the center of attention for scholars working in this subfield. The focus has expanded in recent decades to include civil wars, insurgencies, terrorism, mass murder, and interventions, as such violence has become more prominent and as it has begun to have important repercussions for interstate relations.

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International Political Economy

International Political Economy (IPE) is a subfield of International Relations that focuses on the relationship between politics and economics at the global level. IPE scholars explore the ways in which states as well as non-state actors, such as international organizations, multinational corporations, and transnational civil society, interact to govern or shape the global economy. IPE scholars often study topics such as the politics of international trade and investment, economic development, global financial crises and transnational migration.

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International Organization

International organization (IO), one of the main subfields of international relations, is the study of how states and other actors in the international system interact—whether in cooperation or conflict—over issues that are not market-based and in which disagreements will not be resolved by the threat of force. The first criterion distinguishes IO from the subfield of international political economy (IPE), while the second criterion distinguishes IO from the study of international security (IS). IO addresses much of the day-to-day activities of states and non-state actors. It examines the conditions under which they can gain from cooperation; the challenges of cooperation, including the enforcement of agreements; the nature of bargaining and the sources of bargaining power; and the design and function of different types of international institutions.

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