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Foreign Policy Analysis

Course Code: PUBLG066

Course Tutor: Dr Jonathan Monten (Department of Political Science)

Assessment: 2 hour exam

Credit Value: 15

About this course

How is foreign policy made? And who makes foreign policy? The course deals with the theory, concepts, history, and practice of Foreign Policy through a comparative lens. The class will prioritise the objective analysis of the processes by which foreign policy goals are established and policy tools are designed to help meet these goals. Much of our attention will focus upon identifying the actors that influence the foreign policy making process across various institutional structures, and the models that the literature identifies to capture this process theoretically and empirically.

The course 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. Having identified the key domestic actors in the foreign policy process cross-nationally, the class will focus upon detailing specific examples of foreign policy practices in the modern era: with close attention paid to economic, military, and multilateral options.

Students are invited to reflect upon the limits of traditional IR theory in understanding how foreign policy is made. The orientation is more theoretical than substantive. In other words, the course focuses mostly on the sources of foreign policy rather than its content, on policy inputs and the decision-making process rather than on policy outputs. Students will be asked to complete a comprehensive set of readings, to participate actively in seminar discussions, and to complete a long paper assignment.

Course aims

  • 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.

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School of Public Policy,
The Rubin Building,
29/31 Tavistock Square,
London, WC1H 9QU.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 4999,
Fax: +44 (0)20 7679 4978,

Postgraduate enquiries

Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 4982/4950

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Page last modified on 03 jun 16 12:14

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