Realism, Neo-Liberalism, Constructivism and Post-Marxism


This lecture describes the main school of thoughts to explain how world politics work and which tenets shape its most visible outcomes, such as war, international crises, and revolutions.

At the end of the 5 hours lecture, students should be able to understand the interpretative framework of international relations and to formulate different interpretation to current events.

  • Presentation of Realism theories: Classical Realism (T. Hobbes, E. H. Carr), Structural realism (K. Waltz), Offensive and Defensive Realism (Mearsheimer), Joseph Grieco (Theory of alliances)
  • Description of Liberalism: The Kantian perspective, Democratic Peace (W. Wilson), Institutional theory (Keohane, Ikenberry)
  • The constructivist approach of international relations: The social construction of power (Alexander Wendt), critical theory
  • The English School: Hedley Bull and Martin Wight
  • Post Marxism: the school of Frankfurt (Jurgen Habermas)



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Guillaume Nicaise, What is war ? By Clausewitz (Summary), 2011
Stephen Walt, The Renaissance of Security Studies, 1991
Kenneth Waltz, Structural Realism after the Cold War, 2000
John I. Mearsheimer, The False Promise of International Institutions, 1995
Resumé du cours_Réalisme


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Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch, 1795
Governance in a Partially Globalized World, 2000
Keohane, . Power and interdependence revisited, 1997 + summary
Keohane, . Power and interdependence (summary), 1997
Résumé du cours_liberalisme

the Ennglish school

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Stanley Hoffman, Hedley Bull and His Contribution to International Relations, 1986
The international political thought of Martin Wight
Résumé du cours_Ecole Anglaise


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Alexander Wendt, Social Theory of International Politics, 1999
Martha Finnemore, National Interests in International Society, 1996
Peter Haas, Learning to learn_Improving international gouvernance, 1995
Résumé du cours_constructivisme