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International Relations

This course offers an introduction to International Relations aiming at (a) familiarizing students with the main concepts, theories and debates in IR and (b) at providing them with the theoretical and methodological tools to better understand the complex nature of international politics nowadays. The course will cover the main theoretical approaches and how they bear upon IR issues and problems at different levels of analysis, from the international system and the nation state to the psychology of decision makers. The course will explore some of these concepts and theories in a role-playing simulation. Using scenario-building and role playing, students will be called on to reflect upon the role of IR theories and methods on the study of international politics, with particular reference to the EU external relations. The case study this year is a simulation of the European Commission and the European External Action Service in developing a cultural relations strategy. The course is organized in two modules. In the first module the main concepts and theories at different levels of analysis will be discussed: the international system, dyadic relationships, the domestic sources of foreign policies, decision-makers roles and psychology in IR. The second module will put the analytical tools and concepts discussed in the first part to work in a concrete, although, simulated, case. The focus will be on the interplay between diplomacy and cultural relations. This simulation will be an opportunity to discuss the present EU strategy in cultural relations.