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Understanding International Relations (5th Edition)

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Red Globe Press

Pages: 320
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Paperback - 9781137611703

10 January 2019

$45.99

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Hardcover - 9781137611710

11 January 2019

$110.99

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Ebook - 9781137611727

20 February 2019

$36.99

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The fifth edition of this bestselling textbook offers a comprehensive and engaging introduction to International relations and has been fully updated to cover the dramatic changes in recent world politics. Written in the...

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The fifth edition of this bestselling textbook offers a comprehensive and engaging introduction to International relations and has been fully updated to cover the dramatic changes in recent world politics. Written in the author’s unique and engaging style, the text explores everything from foreign policy and security to global governance and the global economy, to show how the theories and concepts Brown outlines are the only way to make sense of contemporary issues and events. With reference to such diverse events as Brexit, the Russian armed conflict in Ukraine, the financial crisis, the rise of China, and the challenges of identity politics, the author expertly shows how the range of theories presented in the book allow for an understanding of the destabilising events and developments that characterise global politics today, and will continue to do so in the future. This text remains the definitive guide to understanding international relations, and is suitable for undergraduate and postgraduate students of international relations at any stage of their studies.     

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  • Perennially used to introduce the subject with a zest, pace and sense of fun that is unique.
  • Offers a comprehensive literature review that is well established and highly regarded by students and lecturers alike.
  • Introduces all the main theoretical approaches and illustrates their relevance to understanding key aspects of politics across the globe.



  • Thoroughly updated to showcase the breadth of the latest research and key thinkers in international relations theory.
  • Entirely rewritten chapter on the development of human rights and international criminal law.
  • Brand new chapter that offers a sophisticated and up-to-date analysis of the current state of world politics.


1. Introduction: Defining International Relations
2. The Development of International Relations Theory in the Twentieth Century
3. International Relations Theory Today
4. Agency, Structure and the State
5. Power and Security
6. The Balance of Power and War
7. Global Governance
8. The Global Economy
9. Globalization
10. The International Politics of Identity
11. International Relations and the Individual
12. International (Dis)Order Today?
An excellent introductory book which familiarises students with International Relations theories while exploring some of the most important issues and debates in the discipline... Overall, a brilliant, up-to-date companion for students and teachers of International Relations. – Sophia Dingli, University of Glasgow, UK
Combining wisdom and wit in the seemingly effortless style for which Chris Brown is known, the 5th edition of Understanding International Relations is simply the best introduction to the discipline of International Relations available. – Toni Erskine, Australian National University, Australia
Steeped in the discipline’s key conversations, Chris Brown sets out the academic discipline of International Relations in this lucidly written book. Its strength is that it provides an overview while also supplying historical depth and theoretical nuance to anyone wishing to grasp the subject as well as its intellectual origins. – Olaf Corry, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Chris Brown's 5th edition is a welcome reworking of a classic text, which artfully fuses his recognition for the endurance of traditional IR approaches with astute re-examinations of their relevance in explaining new global developments. The result is a book that does exactly what it promises, namely, to increase our understanding of international relations, today, yesterday and tomorrow. – Garrett Wallace Brown, University of Leeds, UK
This sophisticated yet accessible text offers a theory-based account of how international relations work at the individual, group, state, and global levels. This fifth edition is one of the best volumes in the discipline for both students and those looking for a refresher. – Lasha Tchantouridzé, Norwich University, USA
A concise and accessible overview of IR theory suitable for both graduate and undergraduate levels. The author places theory in context enabling students to understand from where the great debates in IR emerged and how they have developed over time. Of particular value are the further reading sections making this book an essential teaching text and a useful reference for students throughout their studies. – Vanessa Newby, Leiden University, the Netherlands
This rich book will provide any student with the means to grasp the full array of international relations theories, and also to understand why theorising matters and how it helps us make sense of the complex world we live in. Chris Brown writes with engaging ease and insightful depth about classic and evolving theories of IR and relies on them to tease out the key concepts of the discipline – anarchy, war, peace, global governance. – Gillian Wylie, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
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CHRIS BROWN is Emeritus Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science, UK. He has published extensively on International Relations Theory, international political theory, and was previously Chair of the British International Studies Association and, at LSE, Head of the Department of International Relations.


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CHRIS BROWN is Emeritus Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science, UK. He has published extensively on International Relations Theory, international political theory, and was previously Chair of the British International Studies Association and, at LSE, Head of the Department of International Relations.


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