War and Peace in International Society - POLI6670

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2022 to 2023.


The purpose of the module is to enable students to critically engage with the International Society (or "English School") approach to International Relations. Combining political theory, IR theory, philosophy, sociology, and history this approach seeks to understand the theory and practice of international politics by reference to the historical development of relations between large scale political entities (from empires, hordes, kingdoms, to the modern nation-state and beyond) and the discourses that have emerged (Machiavellian, Grotian, Kantian) in response to the development of first European international society and eventually world society. The course focuses on the central features of international society: war and peace as they have been conceived by the three traditions and members of the English School from Martin Wight to more contemporary figures.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 22
Private study hours: 128
Total study hours: 200

Method of assessment

Essay, 2500 words, 50%
Exam, 2 hours, 50%

Reassessment Instrument: 100% coursework

Indicative reading

Hedley Bull, The Anarchical Society: A Study of Order in World Politics, 4th Edition (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012)
Martin Wight, Power Politics 2nd Edition, (London: Leicester University Press, 1995)
Martin Wight, International Theory: The Three Traditions (Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1991)
Adam Watson, Evolution of International Society: A Comparative Historical Analysis @nd Edition (London: Routledge, 2009)
Tim Dunne, Inventing International Society (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 1998)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1: understand the complex nature of international society.

2: summarise and critically assess the dominant theories of international society;

3: identify and evaluate the central features of international society;

4: understand continuity and change within international society;

5: apply theoretical perspectives to contemporary international society;

6: identify both practical and ethical problems of international society from a variety of theoretical positions.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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