* To provide a theoretical and empirical analysis of contemporary changes in the nature/ understanding of power and its distribution in the international system.
* To reflect on and open debate about how these changes affect several aspects of international relations, including order and institutions.
* To explore empirical cases exemplifying these shifts, i.e. the emergence/resurgence of new powers, the evolving nature of the international economic order and the North-South relations, the emergence of non-traditional forms of exercising power such as soft power, norms creation and regional/multilateral arrangements.
Students who successfully complete this unit will:
* acquire a thorough understanding of the contested notion of power regarding both its nature/understanding and its distribution.
* display a critical understanding of empirical examples epitomising contemporary debates about power, order and their relationship.
* understand how (new) actors, values, norms and institutions in the international system are both the result of the changes in international power and affect these changes.
* be able to assess critically topical events in world politics as well as the interests, role and actions of key players in the international scenario.
* understand and analyse key trends in contemporary international relations.
The key skills the unit will hone and further develop are:
* Research skills in identifying, locating and exploiting a wide range of resources.
* Intellectual skills of conceptual, original and independent thinking, critical analysis, synthesis and reasoned argument.
* Skills of assessment and judgement in relation to the soundness of competing arguments and scenarios.
* Generic and transferable skills related to the oral and written presentation.
* Skills of self-direction, self-evaluation and time management.
Lectures and seminars will cover the following main topics:
* Debates about the combination of/tension between the changes in the nature/understanding of power and changes in its distribution.
* Areas in which these changes display their effects such as: international institutions, norms and values, actors, key concepts i.e. sovereignty, governance.
* The rise and fall of great powers and consequences for the international order, including the international economic order and North-South relations.
* The emergence of norms and values and the evolution of international law.
* The evolving role and status of the United States, the European Union and emerging states and regions (with particular reference to Latin America, Africa, and the Asia-Pacific) in the international order.