Believe me, it's a big world out there

September 18, 2008

The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations

Editors: John Baylis, Steve Smith and Patricia Owens

Edition: Fourth

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Pages: 664

Price: £28.99

ISBN 9780199297771

This book's title is enough to spark debate; the term "globalisation" is a controversial one, and its meaning is highly contested. Traditionally, the term "international politics" has focused on the relationship between nation-states. John Baylis, Steve Smith and Patricia Owens approach their introduction to international relations in the context of globalisation.

They explain their use of the term "world politics" as opposed to international politics as a more appropriate description of the way the text has not only tried to incorporate more than just the interaction of nation-states in its approach but also consider transnational actors and other influences, such as the relations between cities and other governments or international organisations.

The book offers a well-argued presentation of this school of thought in a way that is easy to grasp. That is not to say, however, that it eliminates other theories and respected paradigms in its discussion. In fact, it makes sure to provide the reader with an informative presentation of all other dominant theories in the field in a way that is equally straightforward, and thus it does what any good introductory textbook should do.

The Globalization of World Politics is one of the most commercially successful textbooks published by Oxford University Press, and with even a quick flick through it is not difficult to see why. It aims to combine history, theory, structure and process with contemporary international issues, and it does so in a way that is clearly presented.

Each chapter starts with a list of contents and a "reader's guide". Subsections are neatly laid out and key points, maps, tables, diagrams and boxes containing useful bits of contextual information or a deeper focus all feature recurrently. Each chapter ends with case studies, a conclusion, questions to consider, a guide to further reading and web links.

Who is it for? Undergraduates looking for an international-relations reference text encompassing a broad range of topics in an easily accessible manner.

Presentation: Clearly laid out and visually pleasing. Think of it as "bite-size for grown-ups".

Would you recommend it? This is an ideal text for students who are new to the subject, but it also remains a key resource as students continue in their studies. Although the book's aim is introductory, its breadth and depth make it a worthwhile investment.

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