Critical theories of International Relations


The « critical approaches to international relations » share a critical stance on the positivist pretention to produce value-free scholarship, and the hope that new perspectives may help to disclose the current relations of domination that structure world politics. The course does not purport to exhaust the numerous varieties of critical international relations theories (post-positivist, feminist, post-colonial, neo-Marxist, radical, etc.). Such an ambition would appear all the more overweening as critical thinking on international relations has not only emerged in the (sub)discipline of international relations but also found some stimulating formulations in other disciplines such as history, law, anthropology, linguistics, and philosophy, etc. Rather, this course introduces to some works produced in these fields with a particular focus on four critical approaches to international relations: the (neo)-Marxist, the postcolonial, the feminist and the « post-structuralist » approaches.

Recommended Prerequisite(s)

Those students who want to make the most of this course should have a background on the mainstream theories of international relations, notably realism and liberalism.

Form of assessment

The number of ECTS credits and the assessment methods are likely to be different for students in credit exchange programmes.


  • Brincat S., Lima L. & Nunes J., Critical Theory in International Relations and Security Studies: Interviews and Reflections, London, Routledge, 2012.
  • Edkins J. & Vaughan-Williams N., Critical theorists and international relations, London, Routledge, 2009.
  • Rengger N. & Thirkell-White N., Critical International Theory. 25 Years After, Cambridge University Press, 2007.
  • Roach S. C., Critical Theory and International Relations: A Reader, London, Routledge, 2007.
  • Weber C., International Relations Theory. A Critical Introduction, Routledge, 2004.

Educational formula

Lecture with some assigned readings.

In brief

Year Fourth year

Teaching languageEnglish

Teaching term Six-monthly

ECTS credits 3.0

Number of hours 18.0

Teaching activityLecture course

ValidationFinal written examination

Mandatory teaching

Open to exchange students



Educational manager :
Delori Mathias [+]