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Understanding international relations.


Question: Using the theories, concepts and ideas you have learnt in OPOL161 so far, write a critical review of the following journal article. Walt, Stephen M. 1998. ?International Relations: One World, Many Theories.? Foreign Policy 110 (Spring): 29-46. Critically review this article using the theories, concepts, terms and ideas that have been introduced in the first weeks of the OPOL161 unit. The main objectives of this assessment are to demonstrate that you can effectively identify the author's core argument, and in your analysis demonstrate your understanding of some of the important theories, concepts and terms used in international relations. Before embarking on your review, please read the following guidelines. Assessment will be based on three components: your analysis, your research, and your expression. The critical review is an assessment and evaluation of the author's argument in a given text. This involves first identifying what the argument is, and then considering its weaknesses and strengths, in light of additional research. Thus, you would formulate your position on the author's argument, based on your understanding of its central concepts and on your research. It is not a descriptive summary of what the author has discussed. A critical review provides an analysis of the article selected for critique. It is not simply ?critical? in the ordinary sense of the word, but provides an evaluation of the author?s argument by considering it in a fair and scholarly manner. It does not involve attacking the author?s ideas or discussing biographical information about the author. It requires you to firstly identify what the author?s argument is, and secondly, to evaluate the basis of this argument by doing adequate research of the subject in question. What is Walt?s argument about the discipline of IR? What does he suggest about the relation of theory to the ?real world?? What are the implications of this for your understanding of IR? * On the basis of your research is the argument made a sound one? (I.e. is the reasoning sound?) * Is it adequately supported with evidence (i.e. research)? What examples has the author used to demonstrate his/her points? * What flaws or shortcomings are there? (Are there any oversights, for instance?). What other perspectives are there? * How has this subject been understood by other scholars? First, consider what the article is about: what are Walt's points and assumptions about what IR is as a discipline? How does he use the examples of Realism, Liberalism and Constructivism to demonstrate this? What is the relation of theory to practice (the 'real world')? Do we understand Walt's coverage of IR theories to be sufficiently broad or narrowly based? Shouldn't he have incorporated ideas from Feminist IR theory and ideas from the English school of IR, for example? Does Walt's article suggest that IR is a global discipline that reflects the interests and aspirations of people across the world? Or does it imply that IR is a male-dominated North American social science? This involves questions raised in the introductory readings (topic one) about what IR is and the debates about what it should focus on. Also see chapter one by Jim George in the Devetak text. These readings introduce you to the underlying issues and questions about IR as a discipline (for example, is theoretical diversity a strength or a weakness?) which should be the focus of your research. (Remember that you may use a maximum of two sources from the unit material). This is not simply a case of presenting your ideas (?I think?, ?I believe??etc.) versus the author?s: you need to support your conclusions about the argument presented with adequate, scholarly research. The structure of a critical review The structure of a review is different from a standard essay. It consists of: * A brief introduction (100-150 words) * Your analysis (700-800 words) * Conclusion (100-150 words) In your introduction, sum up the author?s argument and main points. As there is a 1000 word limit, it is important that you summarise this as succinctly and economically as possible (100-150 words). This may seem daunting considering the complexity of the article, but you need to identify what you consider to be the most crucial points in relation to the author?s argument. You do not need to discuss everything the article refers to, only the points you consider to be the most important. Note that you do not need to state your aims or your points here: i.e. be mindful of your word limit. In the body of your essay (700-800 words) you present your analysis of the author?s argument, supporting your points with scholarly evidence (i.e. research) and providing in-text references where required. Short quotes can be used to demonstrate your points but do not rely on quotes too heavily. Direct quotes should not exceed 10% of the essay word allowance. Your conclusion will simply sum up your main points as outlined in the body of your essay (100-150 words). Do not introduce new points or use quotes here: a summary of your analysis is all that is needed here. Be concise and disciplined: don?t ramble or introduce points not directly relevant to the topic at hand. Essays have word limits to which you must adhere. A margin of plus/minus 10% of the word limit is permitted. Therefore the essay has to fall somewhere in the range of 900-1100 words in length. The word allowance includes in-text citations but does not include the reference list. Penalties will be applied if the essay falls outside these limits. All assignments must be submitted in Microsoft Word format with the file extension .doc or .docx. Please do not submit your assignment in PDF or other formats as these cannot be electronically marked. No cover sheet is required but make sure you include your name in the document. Expression Use formal language and don?t lapse into a conversational tone. Do not use subheadings in your essay, as these are more suited to reports or presentations. * Proof-read your essay for grammatical errors. Are your points expressed clearly, in a grammatically-correct manner? Do they make sense? * Please use size 12 font and 1.5 or double line space your essay. Research and referencing You must do adequate research to produce a satisfactory critique. Please do not rely on the lectures and the readings provided for the relevant topics, as you must demonstrate a capacity to carry out your own research. Note that while lectures introduce central concepts and develop your understanding of these, they do not involve research on your part. The unit lectures should not be used as sources in the reference list. Your essay must be fully referenced. This includes proper referencing of the author you are reviewing. The required referencing style in this unit is the Chicago Style of author-date (in-text) referencing. See for further information and examples. Sound referencing is essential when writing at this level. It demonstrates attention to detail and helps the reader easily locate information mentioned. * You will need at minimum of 5 scholarly sources for this essay. This does not include media sources. Scholarly sources are from peer reviewed journals and books. It does not include the Walt article, as it is the object of your critical review. * You may use 2 sources from the unit readings but at least 3 must be derived from your own research. * Always acknowledge where and how you have used your sources. You must provide correct in-text references when referring to your sources either directly (quotes) or indirectly (paraphrases). This must include author surname, publication year and page number: for example, (Walt 1998, 35). * Provide a proper reference list with all the required details of all the texts you have cited in your essay. A bibliography is not required. This is a crucial component of your essay and it should not be overlooked or compiled in a hurry. Please see the library website on referencing for the correct format and details required for your reference list. Note that Walt?s text should also appear in your reference list, along with the other requisite 5 sources * Texts that are not edited compilations are listed in this format: Wight, Colin. 2015. Rethinking Terrorism: Terrorism, Violence and the State, London: Macmillan. * Journal articles would have this format: Walt, Stephen. 1998. ?International Relations: One World, Many Theories.? Foreign Policy 110: 29-46. * Chapters from edited compilations are listed in this way: Klein, Bradley S. 1010. ?Conclusion: Every Month is a ?Security Awareness Month,? in Critical Security Studies: Concepts and Cases, edited by Keith Krause and Michael C. Williams, 359-368. London and New York: Routledge. * Only italicise book and journal titles, not the titles of journal articles or chapters from edited books.

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