Foreign Policy Analysis
Course Code: PUBLG066
Course Tutor: Dr Nils Metternich (Department of Political Science) and TBC
Assessment: One 3,000 word essay
Credit Value: 15
About this course
This course will examine a variety of alternative theoretical explanations for how states formulate and implement their foreign policies. The course begins by outlining foreign policy analysis as a sub-discipline of political science, i.e. occupying a disciplinary space in both, and in between, international relations and domestic / comparative politics.
The course then proceeds by introducing the student to the traditional 'levels-of-analysis' approaches; examining the rational state actor, bureaucratic/organisational, and psychological models. As a whole the course critically reviews the impact that government decision-makers, organisations, political parties, private interests, social groups, and mass publics that have on foreign policy; reviewing the constraints, interactions and mechanisms through which policy is formulated and implemented. Significant emphasis is also placed upon the role of history and identity in foreign policy.
Students are invited to reflect upon the limits of traditional IR theory in understanding how foreign policy is made. The approach of the course is both empirical and theoretical: recent developments from constructivism, poststructuralism and feminism are put to the students. The second half of the course reflects on the theoretical approaches to FPA and analyses the nature of the contemporary foreign policy of the US, the UK, China, and the situation facing smaller, poorer states in international society.
- To provide an understanding of the different theoretical perspectives on foreign policy making.
- To assist students in developing a conceptually and empirically informed understanding of the debates surrounding the foreign policy.
- To introduce students to a range of contemporary political issues within foreign policy making.
- To qualify an international group of postgraduate students who may wish to proceed to further specialised study of foreign policy and/or employment in related field.
- To develop key skills associated with: reading about, understanding and discussing conceptual issues and theoretical debates; applying concepts and theories to the empirical study of foreign policy; writing essays and presenting them in seminars, and to participate in group discussions.