Foreign Policy Analysis 1
This information is for the 2021/22 session.
Prof Christopher Alden
This course is available on the BSc in International Relations, BSc in International Relations and Chinese, BSc in International Relations and History and BSc in Politics and International Relations. This course is not available as an outside option. This course is available with permission to General Course students.
This course has a limited number of places (it is capped).
The course analyses various theoretical perspectives on foreign policy, and the means of conduct of the main actors in the international system towards each other. It focuses mainly, but not entirely, on states. Foreign Policy Analysis as a sub-discipline of IR; the problem of formulating goals and choosing policy instruments; the role of leadership and psychological elements in policy making; the rational actor model; bureaucratic politics; the impact of history and identity on foreign policy; domestic sources of foreign policy including public opinion, pressure groups and constitutions; the motivations underpinning foreign policy; the role and influence of transnational actors in relation to foreign policy making; foreign policy crises. The discussion classes combine a discussion of these themes with their application to the foreign policies of major powers in the international system.
In the LT the course turns to an analysis of the foreign policies of a selected group of major states, with due regard to their respective national interests, external commitments, traditional values and other relevant factors. There will be lectures on Britain, China, the United States and the Soviet Union/Russia. Additional guest lecturer country case studies will be included for the remainder of the course. The guest lectures offer additional empirical material to help with answering theoretical questions.
This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures totaling a minimum of 40 hours across Michaelmas Term, Lent and Summer Term. This year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of online lectures and in-person classes/classes delivered online.
Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6, in line with departmental policy.
Students are required to write two essays of about 1,500 words each for their class teachers during the course and to make presentations in the discussion classes.
C Alden and A Aran, Foreign Policy Analysis – New Approaches, 2nd Edition, Routledge, 2017;
S Smith, A Hadfield and T Dunne (Eds), Foreign Policies: Theories, Actors and Cases, 3rd Edition, Oxford University Press, 2016.
Take-home assessment (100%) in the ST.
Course selection videos
Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.
Student performance results
(2018/19 - 2020/21 combined)
|Classification||% of students|
Important information in response to COVID-19
Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.
Department: International Relations
Total students 2020/21: 96
Average class size 2020/21: 10
Capped 2020/21: Yes (98)
Value: One Unit